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1!onbon: C. J. CLAY AND SONS, 

JI.<lp,'g: F. A. BROCKHAUS. 
l3omtaJ1: E. SEY1\IOUR HALE. 

[All Rights rd,n-ai.] 



An Essay on the 
Developn1ent of Libraries and 
their Fittings, from the earliest tiInes to 
the end of the Eighteenth Century 



Registrary of the U niversit y 
and fonnerly Fdlow of Trinity College, Cambridge 

at the University Press 
19 01 

\!rambribgt : 



 HEN engaged in editing and completing The 
' / 
 lrchitcctural l-Iistory of the UIlÍL'ersitya1ld 
. :' ) Colleges of Cambrir{fe, I devoted much time 
, and attention to the essay called The Library. 
". The subject was entirely new; and the more 
I looked into it, the more conyinced did I become that 
it would well repay fuller im'estigation than was then 
possible. For instance, I felt certain that the Customs 
affecting monastic libraries would, if one could only 
discoyer them, throw considerable light on collegiate 
statutes relating to the same subject. 
The .A rchiteclzeral History having been published, 
I had leisure to study libraries from my new point of 
yiew ; and, while thus engaged. I fortunately met with the 
admirable paper by Dom Gasquet which he modestly 
calls Some Notes OIl .Jlcdie'i'al 
1101lasti{ Libraries. This 
brief essay-it occupies only 20 pages-opened my eyes 
to the possibilities that lay before me. and I gladly place 
on record here the debt I owe to the historian to whom 
I have dedicated this book. 
\Yhen I had the honour of deliyering the Rede 
Lecture before the University of Cambridge in June 
18 94, I attempted a reconstruction of the monastic 
library. shewing its relationship, through its fittings, to 



the collegiate libraries of Oxford and Cambriùge; and 
I was also able, following the example set by Dom 
Gasquet in the above-mentioned essay, to indicate the 
value of illuminated manuscripts as illustrating the life of 
a medieval student or scribe. I n my lectures as Sandars 
Reader in Bibliography. delivered before the University 
of Cambridge in 1900, I developed the subject still 
further, extending the scope of my enquiries so as to 
include the libraries of Greece and Rome. 
In writing my present. book I have availed myself 
freely of the three works above mentioned. At the same 
time I have incorporated much fresh material; and I am 
glad to take this opportunity of stating, that, with the 
single exception of the Escõrial, I have personally 
examined and measured every building which I haye 
had occasion to describe; anù many of the illustrations 
are from my own sketches. 
I call my book an Essay, because I wish to indicate 
that it is only an attempt to deal, in a summary fashion, 
with an extremely wide and interesting subject--a subject, 
too, which might easily be subdivided into separate heads 
each capable of more elaborate treatment. F or instance, 
with regard to libraries in Religious Houses, I hope to 
see a book written, dealing not merely with the way in 
which the books were cared for, but with the subjects 
most generally studied, as indicated to us by the cata- 
logues which have survived. 
A res
arch such as I have had to undertake has 
naturally involved the co-operation of numerous librarians 
and others both in England and on the Continent. From 
all these officials I have experienced unfailing courtesy 
and kindness, and I beg thcm to accept this collective 



expression of my gratitude. To some, however, I am 
under such particular obligations, that I wish to mention 
them by name. 
In the first place I haye to thank my friends 
Dr Jackson of Trinity College, Dr Sandys of S. John's 
College, Dr James of King's College, and F. J. H. 
Jenkinson, :\I.A., University Librarian, for their kind 
help in reading proofs and making suggestions. Dr 
Sandys devoted much time to the revision of the first 
chapter. As my work deals largely with monastic 
institutions it is almost needless to say that I have 
consulted and receiyed efficient help from myoId friend 
\V. H. St John Hope, M.A., Assistant Secretary to the 
Society of Antiquaries. 
::\1 y researches in Rome were made easy to me by 
the unfailing kindness and ready help accorded on every 
occasion by Father C. J. Ehrle. S. j., Prefect of the 
\' atican Library. My best thanks are also due to 
Signor Rodolfo Lanciani, to Professor Petersen of the 
German Archeological I nstitute, Rome, and to Signor 
Guido Biagi of the Biblioteca Laurenziana, Florence. 
At ::\Iilan 
lonsignor Ceriani of the Ambrosian Library 
was so kind as to have the library photographed for 
my use. 
The courteous officidls who administer the great 
libraries of Paris with so much ability, have assisted me 
in all my researches. I wish specially to thank in this 
place :\1. Léopold Delisle and :\1. Léon Dorez of the 
Bibliothèque N ationale; 
I. A. Franklin of the Biblio- 
thèque l\Iazarine; M. H. 
Iartin of the Bibliothèque 
de l'Arsenal; and M. .\. Peraté, Sous-Conservateur 
du Château de \' ersailles. 



I have also to thank Señor Ricardo Velasquez 
for his beautiful elevation of the bookcases in the 
Escõrial Library; Father j. van den Gheyn, S.j., of 
the Royal Library, Brussels, for his trouble in shewing 
me, and allowing me to have photographed, several 
l\ISS. from the library under his charge; my friends 
1\Ir T. G. Jackson, R.A., Architect, for lending me 
his section of Bishop Cobham's library at Oxford; 
E. \V. B. Nicholson, M.A., Librarian, and Falconer 
l\Iadan, l\I.A., Sub-Librarian, in the Bodleian Library, 
for information respecting the building and its contents; 
1\Ir F. E. Bickley of the British l\Iuseum for much help 
in finding and examining 1\ISS.; and Lionel Cust, l\1.A., 
Director of the National Portrait Gallery, for general 
direction and encouragement. 
l\Iessrs l\Iacmillan have allowed me to use three illus- 
trations which appear in the first chapter; l\1 r 1\1 urray 
has given the same permission for the woodcut of the 
carrells at Gloucester; and l\Iessrs Dlades for the 
representation of James Leaver's book-press. 
Lastly I wish to thank the staff of the University 
Press for using their best efforts to produce the work 
rapidly and well, and for many acts of personal kindness 
to myself. 


Seþtember 23,d, I90I. 



Introduction. Assyrian }{ecord-Rooms. Libraries in Greece, Alexandria, 
Pergamon, Rome. Their size, use, contents, and fittings. Armaria or 
presses, The \"atican Library of Sixtus V. a type of an ancient 
Roman library 


Christian libraries connected with churches. Use of the apse. :\fonastic 
communitIes. S, Pachomius, S. Benedict and his successors. Each 
House had a libraIY. Annual audit of books. Loan on security. Modes 
of protection. Curses. Prayers for donors. Endowment of libraries. 
Use of the cloister. Development of Cistercian book-room. Common 
press. Carrells 6 I 


Increase of monastic collections. S. }{iquier, Bobbio, Durham, Canterbury. 
Books kept in other places than the cloister. Expedients for housing 
them at Durham, Citeaux, and elsewhere. Separate libraries built in 
fifteenth century at Durham, S. Albans, Citeam" Clair\"au,", etc. 
Gradual extension of library at S. Germain des Près. Libraries 
attached to Cathedrals. Lincoln, Salisbury, \Yells, Noyon, Rouen, 
etc. 101 


The fittings of mc.nastic libraries and of collegiate libraries probably 
identical. Analysis of some library-statutes. :\Ionastic influence at 
the Universities. Number of books owned by Colleges. The col- 
legiate library. Bishop Cobham's library at OJ\.ford. Library at 
Queens' College, Cambridge. At Zutphen. The lectern-system. 
Chaining of books. Further eJl.amples and illustrations '3' 




Recapitulation. Invention of the stall-system. Library of Corpus Christi 
College, Oxford, taken as a type. System of chaining in Hereford 
Cathedral. Libraries of Merton College, Oxford, and Clare College, 
Cambridge. The stall-system copied at \Vestminster Abbey, \Vells, 
and Durham Cathedrals. This system possibly monastic. Libraries 
at Canterbury, Dover Priory, ClaÎIvaux 17 1 


The lectern-system in Italy. Libraries at Cesena, at the Convent of 
S. I\lark, Florence, and at Monte Oliveto. Vatican Library of SiJ\.tus IV. 
Ducal Library at U rbino. Medicean Library, Florence. System of 
chaining there used. Characteristics of medieval libraries 199 


Contrast beIween the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Suppression of the 
Monasteries. Commissioners of Edward VI. Subsequent changes in 
library fittings. S. John's College, and University Library, Cambridge. 
Queen's College, Oxford. Libraries attached to churches and schools. 
Chaining in recent times. Chains taken off 245 


The wall-system. This began on the Continent. Library of the Escãrial. 
Ambrosian Library at :\lilan. Library of Cardinal :\lazarin. Bodleian 
Library at Oxford. \Vorks and influence of \Vren, French COl1\entual 
libraries of the seventeenth century 2 6 7 


Private libraries. Abbat Simon and his book-chest. Library of Charles Y. 
of France. lllustrations of this library from illuminated manuscripts, 
Book-lectern used in private houses. Book-desks revolving round a 
central screw, Desks attached to chairs. \\"all-cupboards. A scholar's 
room in the fifteenth century. Study of the Duke vf Urbino. Library 
of I\largaret of Austria. Library of :\lontaigne. Conclusion. 29 1 




I. Plan of the Record-Rooms in the Palace of Assur-bani-pal, King of 
Ninen:h 2 
2. Plan of the temple and precinct of Athena, Pergamon; with that of the 
Library and adjacent buildings 9 
3. Plan of the Porticus Octaviæ, Rome. From ForJlltF UrNs ROlllæ 
A ntitjllæ, Berlin, 1896 13 
4. Plan of the Forum of Trajan; after Kibby. From Middleton's Rema;,ts 
of A ncimt R0111e [ 5 
5. Plan of the Stoa of Hadrian, at Athens. From Miss Harrison's 1If;.thology 
and lI/otl1l111ents of A "ci"'tt Atltens [i 
6. Elevatiun of a single compartment of the wall of the Library discovered 
in Rome, 1883. From notes and measurements made by Signor 
Lanciani and Prof. Middleton. 23 
7. Plan of the Record-House of Vespasian, with the adjoining structures. 
From Middleton's Remains of Ancimt Rome . 26 
8. Part of the internal wall of the Record-lIouse of Vespasian. Reduced 
from a sketch taken in the [6th century hy Pirro Ligorio. From 
C0111111issione Arclleologira C0111l111ak di R0111a 26 
9. A reader \I ith a roll: from a fresco at Pompeii . 28 
10. Book-box or capsa 3 0 
I I. A Roman taking dO\l n a roll from its place in a Library 35 
12. Desk to support a roll while it is being read .
13. A Roman reading a roll in front of a pre,s (ar111arium). From a phutu- 
graph of a sarcophagus in Ihe garden of the \"illa Balestra, Rome 
To face 38 
14. Press containing the four Gospels. From a musaic above the tomb of 
the Empress Galla Placidia at Ravenna 39 
IS. E7ra writing the Law. Frontispiece to the Codex A 1Iliati1lI1S. In the 
background is a press with open doors. The picture was probably 
drawn in the midrlle of the sixth century A.I>. Frotltispit'Ce 
16. Great lIall of the Vatican Library, looking \lest To face 4i 
17. A single press in the Vatican Library, open. From a photograph 
To fare 48 
18.. Rough ground-plan of the Great lIall of the Vatican I.ibrary, to ilIustlate 
the account of the decoration . To fitre 60 
19. Press in the cloi..ter at the Cistercian Abbey of Fossa KuO\'a 8.
20. (;round-plan and elevation of the hook-reccsscs in the cloister of 
\\' orcester Cathedral 84 



21. Ground-plan of part of the Abbey of Fossa Kuova. To shew the 
book-room and book-press, and their relations to adjoining struc- 
tures: partly from Enlart's Origillt'S Frallfaises tk l'Architertllle 
Cothiqtte m Italie, partly from my own measurement. . 85 
22. Ground-plan of part of Kirhtall Abbey, Yorkshire 86 
23. Grcund-plan of part of Furness Abbey. From 
Ir \Y. H. St J. Hope's 

24. Arches in south wall of Church at Beaulieu Abbey, Hampshire, once 
possibly used as book-presses . To face 89 
25. The cloister, \\"estminster Abbey. From l\Ir l\Iicklethwaite's plan of 
the buildings 91 
26. Part of the ancient press in Bayeux Cathedral, called Lt' Chartrier de 
Ba)'eltx. From a photograph . To face 9+ 
27. Pre"s in the church at Obazine, Central France. From a photograph 
To face 9S 
28. Ground-plan of one of the \\indows in the cloister of Durham Cathedral 96 
29. Range of carrells in the south cloister at C;loucester Cathedral. From 
l\Ir l\Iurray's Halldbook to the fVestell1 Cathcdrals . 97 
30. A single carrell, Gloucester Cathedral . To face 98 
31. Library at Durham, built by Prior Wess}ngton about ,++6 107 
32. Library of Ihe Grey Friars House, London, commonly called Christ's 
HospitaL From Trollope's His/ory '!/ Christ's HosPital To face 109 
33. Bird's-eye ,-iew of part of the 
Ionastery of Citeaux. From a dra\\ing 
dated 1718 110 
34. Ground-plan of part of the l\Ionastery of Citeaux. From a plan dated 1718 II [ 
35. Gruund-plan of the Library at CiIeaux . [ I I 
36. Part of the Abbey of S. Germain des Près, Paris. From a print dated 
[687; reproduced in Les ..rlIlCÙllIZt'S Bib/io/hèqlles de Pans, par 
Alf. Franklin, VoL I. p. 126 . liS 
37. Part of the Abbey of S. Germain' rles Près, Paris. From a print in 
His/oire de f Abba)'e Royale de Saillt Cerlllaill des Pre
, par Dom 
Jacques BouilIart, fol. Paris, '7Z4, lettered "L\bbare...telle '1ll'elle 
est présentement" 116 
3 8 . Plan uf the Old Library, Lincoln Cathedral 119 
39. Interior of the Old Library, Lincoln Cathedral To face 118 
40. Plan of Ihe Cloister, etc., Lincoln Cathedral 120 
4 1 . Exterior of the Library at Salisbury Cathedral, looking north-ea't 
To/ace I'lZ 
42. Plan of the Library in Wells Cathedral In 
43. Plan of the Library at Lichfield Cathedral. From HÙtory and An- 
tiquities of StajJò,'dshire, by Stebbing Shaw, fol. Lond. 1798, Vol. II. 
p. 'lH IZ3 
44. Chapter-Library at Noyon, France To face 12+ 
45. A single pillar of the cloister beneath the Chapter-LiLrary at Koyon. I'lS 
46. Plan of the Library at the sOllth-eru.t angle of the south transept of 
the Cathedral at Troyes . 1'l6 
47. Interior uf the Com- des Libraires, {{,ouen, she" ing the gate of entrance 
from the street, and the Library To filte [30 



4 8 . Pembro!..e College, Cambridge, reduced from Loggan'!> print, ta!..en 
about 16i1-8 
49, Long Section of Old Congregation House and Library, Oxford, loo! 
south. From The Chtlrch tif S. .1/"'y the Virgin, Oxford, by 
r. G. Jackson, Architect 
50. Ground-plan of the Library at Queens' College, Cambridge 
51. Elevation of boo!..-des!.. in Library of Queens' College, Cambridge 
52. Ground-plan of the Library at Zutphen 
53, General ,ie\\ of the north side of Ihe Lihrary attached to the church 
of S. \\'alburga at Zutphen To face 
54. De,!.. and reader on the south side of the Library at Zutphen. From 
a photograph 
55. Elevations of (A) one of the bookcase:, in the Library at Zutphen : (B) one 
of those in the Library at (2ueens' College, Calf'bridge 
56. End of iron bar: Zutphen 
57. End of one of tbe de.!..s un the north side of the Librar): Zutphen 
58. Piece of chain, she\\ing the ring attached 10 the bar, the s\\i\el, 
and one of the links, actual size: Guild ford 
59. P,ece of the iron bar, \\ith chain: Zutphen . 
60. Chained book, from a Dominican HoU!,e at Bamberg, :,outh Germany 
61. Single de..!.. in the Old Library: I incoln Cathedral 
62, Elevations of (\) one of the boo!..cases in the Library at Zutphen; 
I B) one of those in the Lihrary at Queens' College, Cambridge; 
(C) one of those in the Library of Lincoln Cathedral 
63. Interior of a Library. From a 
IS. of a French translation of the first 
book of the CO,lSola/ion of Philosophy by Boethiu., written in Flanders 
to\\ards tbe end of lbe fifteenlh cenlury 
64, Library of the Collège de 
a'arre, Paris, no\\ destro)ed To face 
65. General view of the Libraf) at Trinity HaIl, Cambridge To face 
66. Elevation of a boo!..-de..!.. and seal in the Library of Trinity HaIl, 
67. Lock at end of boo!..-des!..: Trinity Hall 
68. A French übraf)' of l.J.
0. From 
IS. 16-f in the FitZ\\ilIiam 
Camhridge To face 
6g. The interior of the Library of Ihe CnÎ\ersity of Le)den. From a 
print by Jan Corneli. \\ oudanus, dated 1610 To Jollow 
7 0 . Boo! and seat in the Library at Corpu. Christi CoIlege, Oxford. 
From a phot<>grnph ta!..en in 189-f . To face 
7 1 . Elevation of one boo! in tbe Library of Corpu, Chrisli CoIlege, 
7 2 . Bookcase in the Chapler Library, Hereford Cathedral. From a s!..etch 
lal..en in 18i6 
73. Part of a boo!",e in Ihe Chapler Library, Hereford To face 
74. Part of a single ,olume, shewing Ihe clasp, tbe ring for the chain, 
and the mode of attaching it: Hereford 
75. A single volume, standing on the shelf, \\ ith the chain attached 10 
the iron bar: Hereford 
7 6 . Iron bar and .oe!, close::d to preyent remo\al of the bar: Hereford. 




15 2 





16 3 

16 9 


16 9 

Ii o 





li 6 
li 6 





Iron bar, with part of the iron plate m' hasp which is securcd by 
the lock and keeps the bar in place: Hereford 
Piece of chain, shewing the swivel: Hereford 
Hook to hold up the desk: Bodleian Library, Oxford 
Exterior of the Library at Merton College, Oxford, as seen from' Mob 
Quadrangle.' From a photograph by II. W. Taunt, 1899 To face 
Ground-plan of the Library at Merton College, Oxford 
Interior of the \Vest Library at Merton College, Oxford. From a 
photograph hy II. W. Taunt, 1899 To fact! 
Bookcase in the Wcst Library of Merton College, Oxford. From a 
photograph by H. W. Taunt, 1899 To face 
Elevation of a bookcase and seat iu the \Vest Library at Merton College, 
Oxford. Measured and drawn by T. D. Atkinson, Architect 
Stall-enrl in the Library of Clare College, Camhridge 
Ring for attachment of chain, \\-ells 
Bookcases in the Library of Durham Cathcdral. From a photograph 
To face 
Conjectural plan of the Library over the Prior's Chapel at Christ 
Church, Canterbury 
Sketch of the probable appearance of a bookcase, and a reader's seat, in 
the Library at Christ Church, Canterbury 
9 1 . Ground-plan and section of Library at Cesena 
General view of the Library at Ce'iena. From a photograph To face 
Bookcases at west end of south side of Library, Cesena 
Part of a bookcase, at Cesena to shew the system of chaining 
Piece of a chain, Cesena 
Chained book at Ghent 
Ground-plan of part of the Vatican Palace, shewiug the building of 
Nicholas V., as arranged for library purposes by Sixtus IV., and 
its relation to the surrounding structures. From Letarouilly, Le 
Vatica1l, fol. Paris, 1882, as reproduced by M. Fabre 
Ground-plan of the rooms in the Vatican Palace litted up for library- 
pUrpose> by Sixtus IV. . . To follow 
Interior of the Library of Sixtus IV., as shcwn in a fresco in the 
Ospedale di Santo Spirito, Rome. From a photograph taken by 
Danesi To face 
The library-settles (spalliert!) once used in the Vatican Library of 
Sixtus IV., and now in tbe Appartamento Borgia, From a 
photograph To face 
Bookcases in the Medicean Library, Florence 
Copy, slightly reduced, of a sketch by Michelangelo for one of the 
bookcases in the Medicean Library, Florence 
Elevation of desks at Cesena 
Elevation of desks in the Medicean Library: Florence 
A book in the Medicean Library, to shew attachment of chain 
Piece of chain in the Medicean Library, of the actual size 
Diagram to explain the ironwork at the l\Iedicean Library 
OutIìne of bolt forming part of iron\\ ork 








9 2 . 





10 3. 
10 4. 
10 5. 
10 7. 


li 8 




18 9 


19 1 


20 3 





23 6 
23 8 
23 8 



\Vest oriel of the Library at S. Juhn's College, Cambridge 
Boo\"cases in the Library of S. John's College, Cambridge 
Bookcases in the Library of Peterhouse, Camhridge . 
Bookcases in the south room of the University Library, Cambridge 
To face 
e in the old Library of King's College. Cambridge, made with 
the bequest of Nicholas Hobart, 16;;9 . 
Ground-plan of Library, Grantham, Lincolnshire 
Ring and link of chain: Wimborne :\Iinster 
Bookpress in the school at Bolton, Lanca<hire. From BihliograPhical 
JJliscelltlllies by William Blades To faæ 
General view of the Lihrary of the Escùrial. looking north To face 
Bookcases in the Library of the Eseôrial on an enlarged scale 
Elevation of a bookcase, and section of a desk, in the Lihrary of the 
Eseürial . 
<.iround-plan of the Ambrosian Library at 
Interior of the Ambro<ian Library at ;\Iilan. From a photugraph taken 
in 18 99 To face 
Boo\"casc. in the Bibliothèque Mazarine, Paris. From a photograph by 
Dujardin, 189H To face 
Ele,'ation of a bookca.e and _eetion of a desk in the Bibliothèque 
l\Iazarine, Paris 
A portion of the bookcases set up in the eastern wing of the Bodleian 
Library, Oxford, huilt 1610-1612. From Loggan's Oxouia Il/lIs- 
trata, 16j;; 
L:ntrance to "'ren's Library at Lincoln Cathedral, with rart of the 
hookcase which lines the north wall To face 
Part of Wren's ele\ation of the east side of the Library of Trinity 
College, Cambridge, ,Ùth a section of the north range of Nevile's 
Court, she\\ ing the door to the LiLrary from the first floor 
Elevation of onc bay on the east side of the Library of Trinity College, 
Cambridge, drawn to scale from the existing Luilding . 
Interior of the north-east corner of the Library of Trinity College. 
Cambridge, she\\ing the bookea_es, table, desk and stools, as 
designed by Sir Christopher Wren. 
Ground-plan of Library and adjacent parts of S. Paul's Cathedral, 
London. fJe<igned by Sir Christopher Wren 
Sir Christopher Wren's Library at S. Paul's Cathedral, London, looking 
north-east To face 
Bookcase in the north room of the University Library, Cambridge, 
designed by James Essex. Ij,
I-I73" . 
Interior of the Library of the Je,uits at Rheims, now 
/'II,'p,lal C,u':ral 
(;round-plan of the Lihrary of the Jesuits at Rheims 
Simon. Abbat of S. Albans (I l(ij-I 183), seated at his boo\".che.t. 
From :\ISS. Colton 
Two men in a library. From a MS. of LtS cas drs malhcllreltx lIobles 
hvmm,s ct (emmes in the British ;\Iuseum 







12 3. 

12 4. 



12 7. 



13 0 . 

13 1 . 

13 2 . 

the LiI,g,.,.ie rk 
To face 






25 2 




27 1 

27 1 











28 7 





13 6 . 

From a !\IS. of Le /lliroir Ilistorzal in Ihe 
Tv face 
Iranslalion of 

A Carmelilc in his slndy. 
Brilish !\I useum 
Three musicians in a Library. From a !\IS. of a French 
VaIn-ius /llaximus, in Ihe Brilish !\Iuseum 
A bibliomaniac al his desk. From Ihe Ship of Fools 
S. John wriling his Gospel. From a MS. Ilours in the Filzwilliam 

Il1sel1m, Cambridge 
S. Jerome wriling. From an oil painling by Benedetlo Bonfigli, in Ihe 
Church of S. Peler at Perugia To face 
Circular book.desk. From a !\IS. of Fais et G,'stes du Roi Akxaluire, 
in Ihe British !\I useum . 
S. Luke "riling his Gospel. From Ihe Dunois Horæ, a 
IS. in the 
possession of H. Y. Thompson, Esq. 
A lady seated in her chair reading.. From a !\IS. writlen in France, 
early in Ihe lifteenlh cenlury . 
Screw-desk. From a fifIeenlh century 
IS. in the Bibliothèque de 
l'Arsenal, Paris 
Hexagonal desk, with central spike, probably for a candle. From a 
French \\IS. of Le .IIiroir Historial 
A lecturer addressing an audience. From a 
!S. of Liv,-e des cas d,'s 
malh,'urellx /lobles hOJJl11les et ft11l11lt.'s, "ritlen in France at end of 
fifteenth century To face 
S. Mark wriling his Gospel. From a 
IS. HOllrs \Hilten in France in 
the fifteenth century 
The author of The Chronicles of HaÙzattlt in his study 


13 8 . 

14 0 . 

14 1 . 

14 2 . 




14 6 . 


14 8 . 

To face 
S. Jerome in his study. From Les /lliracles de Nostre Dame, written at 
the Hague in q56 To face 
A writer with his desk and table. From a MS. of Le Livre des 
Propri/tls dës Choses in the British ;\Iuseum . To face 
S. Luke writing his Gospel. MSS. Douce, Bud!. Lib. Uxf., No. 381 
S. Augustine at his desk. From a painting by Fra Filippo Lippi at 
Florence . 
S. Jerome reading. From an oil painting by Catena, in the National 
Gallery, Londun To face 
A \Hiter at work. From a French translation of \'ale.ius ;\Iaximus, 
written and illuminated in Flanders in Qj9, for King Edward 1\'. 
To face 
From a \\IS. in the Royal 
To face 



15 1 . 
15 2 . 




A scholar's room in the fifteenth century. 
Library at Brussels 
Dean Boys in his Library, 1622 



29 6 


3 0 3 



3 0 5 

3 06 

3 0 7 

3 0 j 

3 08 

3 0 9 


3 10 

3 0 9 
3 Il 

3 12 

3 1 3 

3 1 3 

3 1 j 



D FI nï

PROPOSE, in the following Essay. to trace 
the methods adopted by man in different ages 
and countries to preserve, to use, and to make 
accessible to others, those objects, of whatever 
material, on which he has recorded his thoughts. 
In this im"estigation I shall include the position, 
the size, and the arrangement, of the rooms in which these 
treasures were deposited, with the progressive development of 
fittings, catalogues, and other appliances, whether defensive, or 
to facilitatc use. But, though I shall have to trace out these 
matters in some detail, I shall try to eschew mere antiquarianism, 
and to impart human interest, so far as possible, to a research 
which might otherwise exhaust the patience of my readers. 
Bibliography, it must be understood, will be wholly excluded. 
From my special point of view books are simply things to 
be takcn care of: even thcir external features concern me 
only so far as they modify the methods adopted for arrange- 
ment and preservation. I must dismiss the subject-matter of 
thc volumes which filled the libraries of former days with a 
brevity of"which I deeply regret the necessity. I shall point out 

C. L. 





the pains taken to sort the books under various comprehensive 
heads; but I shall not enumerate the authors which fall under 
this or that division. 
The earliest repositories of books were connected with 
temples or palaces, either because priests under all civilisa- 
tions have been par excellence the learned class, while despots 
have patronised art and literature; or because such a position 
was thought to offer greater security. 
I will begin with Assyria, where the record-rooms, or we 
might almost say the library, in the palace of Assur-bani-pal, 


- l' 
G XU.U, 
[lit "Lit 
- I 




' '\' :\ fro' 

Fig. I. Plan ofthe Record-Rooms in the Palace of Assur-bani-pal, King of Nineveh. 




King of Xineveh, were discovered by l\Ir Layard In 1850 at 
Kouyunjik, on the Tigris, opposite :\Iosul. The plan (fig. I), 
taken from l\Ir Layard's work., will shew, better than a long 
description, the position of these rooms, and their relation to 
the rest of the building-which is believed to date from about 
700 B.C. The ]ong passage (
o. XLIX) is one of the entrances 
to the palace. Passing thence along the narrower passage 
o. XLII) the explorers soon reached a doorway CE), which led 
them into a large hall (No. XXIX), whence a second doorway 
(F) brought them into a chamber (Ko. XXX\"III). On the north 
side of this room were two doorways (G. G), each "formed 
by two colossal bas-reliefs of Dagon, the fish-god." "The first 
doorway," says :\Ir Layard, "guarded by the fish-gods, led 
into two small chambers opening into each other, and once 
panelled with bas-reliefs, the greater part of which had been 
destroyed. I shall call these chambers . the chambers of 
records,' for, like . the house of the rolls' or records, which 
Darius ordered to be searched for the decree of Cyrus concerning 
the building of the Temple of Jerusalem 2 , they appear to have 
contained the decrees of the Assyrian kings, as well as the 
archives of the empire." 
Mr Layard was led to this conclusion by finding, in these 
rooms, enormous quantities of inscribed tablets and cylinders 
of baked clay. "To a height of a foot or more from the floor 
they were entirely filled with them; some entire, but the 
greater part broken into many fragments, probably by the 
falling in of the upper part of the building.... These documents 
appear to be of various kinds. .Many are historical records of 
wars, and distant expeditions undertaken by the Assyrians; 
some seem to be royal decrees, and are stamped with the 
name of a king, the son of Esarhaddon; others again...contain 
lists of the gods, and probably a register of offerings made in 
their temples 3 ." 
Su far l\1r Layard. Subsequent researches have shewn that 
these two small rooms-they were 27 feet and 23 feet long 
1 DiscoverÙs in the RuilJS of AÙI<!7Jeh alld BabY/Oil, z vols., 8vo. Lond. 1853, 
Vol. II., p. 3.}3. 
2 Ezra, vi. I. 
3 I\Ir Layard gives a view of the intcrior of one of these rooms (p. 3.}5) after it had 
heen cleared of ruLLi,h. 





respectively, with a uniform breadth of 20 feet-contained the 
literature as well as the official documents of Assyria. The 
tablets have beeo sorted under the following heads: History; 
Law; Science; Magic; Dogma; Legends: and it has been 
shewn (I) that there was a special functionary to take charge 
of them; (2) that they were arranged in series, with special 
precautions for keeping the tablets forming a particular series 
in their proper sequence; (3) that there was a general catalogue, 
and probably a class-catalogue as welP. 
Excavations in other parts of Assyria have added valuable 
information to Layard's first discovery. Dr \Yallis Budge, of the 
British Museum, whom I have to thank for much kind assist- 
ance, tells me that" Kouyunjik is hardly a good example of a 
l\Iesopotamian library, for it is certain that the tablets were 
thrown about out of their proper places when the city was 
captured by the l\Iedes about H.C. 609. The tablets were kept 
on shelves.... \Yhen I was digging at Derr some years ago we 
found the what I call 'Record Chamber,' and we saw the 
tablets lying Ùl situ on slate shelves. There were, however, 
not many literary tablets there, for the chamber was meant to 
hold the commercial documents relating to the local temple...." 
Dr Budge concludes his letter with this very important sentence: 
"\Ve have no definite proof of what I am going to say now, but 
I believe that the bilinguaP lists, which Assur-bani-pal had 
drawn up for his library at Nineveh, were intended 'for the 
use of students.''' 
To this suggestion I would add the following. Does not 
the position of these two rooms, easily accessible from the 
entrance to the palace, shew that their contents might be 
consulted by persons who were denied admission to the more 
private apartments? And further, does not the presence of the 
god Dagon at the entrance indicate that the library was under 
the protection of the deity as well as of the sovereign? 
As a pendant to these Assyrian discoveries I may mention 
the vague rumour echoed by Athenæus of extensive libraries 
co]]ected in the sixth century before our era by Po]ycrates 3 , 

1 La Bibliothèq..e du Palm's de Nilllve, par M. Joaclum l\Ienant. 8vo. Paris, 
1880, p. 32. 
· The two languages are the ancient Sumerian and the more modern Assyrian. 
3 Athenæus, Book I., Chap. oJ. 




tyrant of Samos, and Peisistratus, tyrant of Athens, the latter 
collection, according to Aulus Gellius" ha,"ing been accessible to 
all who cared to' use it. It must be admitted that these stories 
are of doubtful authenticity; and further, that we ha,'e no details 
of the way in which books were cared for in Greece during the 
golden age of her literature- This dearth of information is the 
more tantali7ing as it is ob,"ious that private libraries must ha,'e 
existed in a city so culti,'ated as Athens; and we do, in fact, find 
a few notices which tell us that such was the case. Xenophon
for instance, speaks of the number of volumes in the possession 
of Euthydemus, a follower of Socrates; and Athenæus records, in 
the passage to which I have already alluded, the names of se,-eral 
book-collectors, among \\ horn are Euripides and Aristotle. 
An allusion to the poet's bibliographical tastes has been 
detected in the scene of The Frogs of Aristophanes, where 
.IEschylus and Euripides are weighing ,-erses against each other 
in the presence of Dionysus. Æschylus exclaims: 

Kuì P.TJKÉT' ÉP.Ol)'E KaT' É7rOÇ, åÀÀ' Èç TÒV UTa(Jp.òv 
aVTóç, Tà 7rat
 )'lin], K'1rfnuorþwv, 
Èp.ßàç Ka8.qu8w, uUÀÀaß':'v Tà ßtßÀía, 
tÍ' É7nJ TWV Èp.wv Èpw P.ÓVOl'. 
Come, no more single lines-let him bring all, 
His wife, his children, his Cephisophon, 
His books and everything, himself to boot- 
I'll counterpoise them with a couple of lines 3 . 
\\ïth regard to Aristotle Strabo has presen"ed a tradition 
that he "was the first \\ ho made a collection of books, and 
taught the kings of Egypt how to arrange a library
"- words 
which may be taken to mean that Aristotle was the first to \\ ork 
out the arrangement of books on a definite system which \\ as 
afterwards adopted by the Ptolemies at Alexandria_ 
These notices are extremeJy disappointing. They merely 
serve to shew that collections of books did exist in Greece; but 

I Noel. Alt. Book 'II., Chap. I j. Libros Athenis discil'linarum liheralium 
puhlice ad legendum præbendos primus posuis
e dicitur Pisistratu, Ipannus. 
" Xenophon, JJlenlOral>ilia, Book IV., Chap. 2. 
3 ArisIoph. R,In,e, J.IOj-I.PO, translated by J. H, Frere. The pa,
sage ha, 
been quoted by Castellani, Biblioteehe lIdl' AIl/i<hità, 8\"0., Bologna, 188.., Pl" j, I), 
and many others. 
. Strabo, ed, Kramer, Berlin, 8vo., 18::2, Bool. XIII", Chap- r, 
 ::... 1rpWTOf WI' 
rap.." awa)'a)'w" ß.ß'Xia, KallS.6c!.
 ßaa,'X/as ß'ß"\loOi} K 'I f alÍ"ToJ;,'" 




they give us no indication of either their extent or their arrange- 
ment. It was left to the Emperor Hadrian to build the first 
public library at Athens, to which, as it was naturally constructed 
on a Roman design, I shalI return after I have described those 
from which it was in all probability imitated. 
But, if what mdY be termed Greece in Europe declines to 
give us information, that other Greece which extended itself 
to Asia Minor and to Egypt-Greater Greece it would be called 
in modern times-supplies us with a type of library-organisation 
which has been of far-reaching influence. 
After the death of Alexander the Great (n.e. 323) a Greek 
dynasty, that of the Ptolemies, established itself at Alexandria, and 
another Greek dynasty at Pergamon. Both were distinguished 
-like I talian despots of the Renaissance-for the splendour and 
the culture of their courts, and they rivalIed one another in the 
extent and richness of their libraries; but, if we are to believe 
Strabo, the library at Pergamon was not begun until the reign 
of Eumenes II. (I3.e. '97-159), or 126 years aftcr that at 
Alexandria 1. 
The libraries at Alcxandria (for thcre were two)-though 
far more cclebrated and more extcnsivc than the library at Per- 
gamon-need not, from my point of view, detain us for more 
than a moment, for we are told very little about thcir position, 
and nothing about their arrangement. The site of the earliest, 
the foundation of which is ascribed to Ptolemy the Second 
(I3.e. 285-247), must undoubtedly be sought for within the 
circuit of the royal palace, which was in the fashionable quarter 
of the city calIed Rrucheion. This palace was a vast enceinte, 
not a separate building, and, as Strabo, who visited Alexandria 
24 B.e., says, 
Within the precincts of the palace is the i\[useum. It has a 
colonnade, a lecture-room, and a vast establishment where the men 
of letters who share the use of the Museum take their meals 
together. This College has a common revenue; and is managed 
by a priest who is over the Museum, an officer formerly ap- 
pointed by the kings of Egypt, but, at the present time, by the 
Emperor 2 . 

1 Book XIII., Chap. 4, 
2 Book XVII., Chap. 1, 
 8. TWV 6< ßaalXdwv J1.lpOf <uTI Kal TÒ l\IovaEÌov, lx ov 
1rfpi1raTov Kal il;l6pav Kal olKov J1.l..,.av, Iv 
 TÒ awalnov TWV J1.fTfX6vTWV TOV 




That the older of the two libraries must have been in some 
"ay connected with these buildings seems to me certain from 
two considerations. First, a ruler who took so keen an interest 
in books as Ptolemy, would assuredly ha,.c kept his treasures 
under his own eye; and, secondly, he would hardly ha,-e placed 
them at a distance from the spot where the learned men of 
Alexandria held their meetings 1 . 
At some period subsequent to the foundation of Ptolemy's 
first library, a second, called the daughter of the first', was 
established in connexion with the Temple of Serapis, a mag- 
nificent structure in the quarter Rhacôtis, adorned so lavishly 
with colonnades, statuary, and other architectural enrichments, 
that the historian Ammianus 
Iarcellinus declares that nothing 
in the \\ orld could equal it, except the Roman Capitol s. 
This brief notice of the libraries of .\lexandria shews that 
the earlier of the two, besides being in a building dedicated to the 
:\luses, was also connected in all probability \\ ith a palace, and the 
second with a temple. If we now turn to Pergamon, we shall find 
the library associated with the temple and 7ÉpÆlJO<; of Athena. 
The founder selected for the site of his city a lofty and 
precipitous hill, about a thousand feet abm"e the sea-le'"el. The 
rod.y plateau which forms the summit is didded into three 
gigantic steps or terraces. On the highest, "hich occupies the 
northern end of the hill, the royal palace is believed to ha'"e been 
built. On the next terrace, to the south, was the temple of 
Athena; and on the third, the altar of Zeus. External to those 
three groups of buildings, partly on the edge of the hill, partly 
on its sides, "ere the rest of the public buildings. The lo"er 
slopes were probably occupied in ancient times, as at present, by 
the houses of the citizens. 

tþ.XOX{ryWII ållðpwv' faT; ði TV avvMfjJ Tavr[J Ka1 xp7]p.aTa Ko.và Kat iEfJEÙS Ò f1l"t T
)lovadfjJ, TETa'YP,lllos Tón p,iv V1I"Ò TWV ßaa.XiwlI ..íìv ð' V1I"Ò Kaiaapos. 
lOne of the anonymous lives of Apollomll
 Rhodills states that he pre,ided mer 
IlIseum Libraries (TWII ß.ßX'OO'lKWII TOÍÌ \(owdov). 

 Epiphanius, D
 POlld. t?t ,Jlms., Chap_ 12. In 6i lJaupo" Kal iTÉpa. i-y1"'To 
ß.ßX'06Í}K'I i.. Tri 
Epa7rdfjJ, p,'KfJOTlpa T1]S rpWT'IS, 'ÏÍT'S 611')'å.T7JP ';'..op,å.aO'l]s. 
3 Ammianus MarceIlinus, Hoo\" X'\I1_, Chap. 16, !i 12. Atriis columnariis amplis 
,imis et spirantibus signorum figmentis ita e,t exornatum, ut post Capitolium quo se 
venerabilis Roma in ætemum attollit, nihil orbis terrarum ambitiosiu
 cemat. See 
also Aphthonius, Progymll. c. 
JI_ co.!. \\"alz, Rhdold Gr"ci, i. 106. 



[ CHAP. 

These magnificent structures, which won for Pergamon the 
distinction of being "by far the noblest city in Asia minort," 
were in the main due to Eumenes the Second, who, during his 
reign of nearly forty years (B.C. 197-159), was enabled, by the 
wise policy of supporting the Romans, to transform his petty 
state into a powerful monarchy. The construction of a library 
is especially referred to him by Strab0 2 , and from the state- 
ment of Yitruvius that it was built for the delight of the world 
at large (ill COlllllllmem delectlltiollelll), we may infer that it was 
intended to be public 3 . That he was an energetic book-collector, 
under whose direction a large staff of scribes was perpetually at 
work, may be gathered from the well-known story that his biblio- 
graphical rival at Alexandria, exasperated by his activity and 
success, conceived the ingenious device of crippling his en- 
dea,'ours by forbidding the exportation of papyrus. Eumenes, 
however, says the chronicler, was equal to the occasion, and 
defeated the scheme by inventing parchment 4 . It is probable 
that Eumenes not only began but completed the library, for in 
]ess than a quarter of a century after his death (B.c. 133) the last 
of his descendants bequeathed the city and state of Pergamon 
to the Romans. It is improbable that they would do much 
to increase the library, though they evidently took care of it, 
for ninety years ]ater, when Mark Antony is said to have given 
it to Cleopatra, the number of works in it amounted to two 
hundred thousand". 

1 Pliny, Hist. Nat., Book v., Chap. 30. Longeque clarissimum Asia: Pergamum. 
2 Strabo, Book XIII., Chap. 4, 
 2. After recounting the successful policy of 
Eumenes II. towards the Romans, he proceeds: KaUaKEÚaaE 6l OUTOS Ti}" .".611.L", Kal 
TÒ KLK1Jrþ6pLO" å1l.aEL KaTErþúuvaE, Kal åva{}Í]p.aTa Kal ßLßlILO{}1]Kas Kal Tl]V i.".l Toaó"ðE 
KaToLKla" Toíì llEPì'áp.ov Ti}" vii" oi'Jaa" fKE'i"oS ""poaErþLlIoKáll'laE. 
3 De ArckiteLtltJ"tl, Book VII., Præfatio. The passage is quoted in the next note. 
4 Pliny, Hist. Nat., Book XIII., Chap, J I. Mox æmulatione circa hibliothecas 
regum Ptolemæi et Eumenis, supprimente chartas Ptolemæo, idem Varro membranas 
Pergami tradidit repertas. Vitruvius, on the other hand (ut supra) makes Ptolemy 
found the library at Alexandlia as a rival to that at Pergamon. Reges Attalici magnis 
philologiæ dulcedinibus inducti cum egregiam bibliothecam Pergami ad communem 
delectation em instituissent, tunc item I)tolemæus, infinito zelo cupiditatisque incitatus 
studio, non minoribus inùustriis ad eundem modum contenderat Alexandriæ corn- 
ð Plutarch, Alltonius, Chap. 5j. To a list of accusations against Antony for his 
subservience to Cleopatra, is added the fact: ")(apiaaaO aL p.l" am-iì Tàs fK llEp)'áp.ov 
ßLßlILo{}ÍJKas, f" als E(KoaL p.vpLáðES ßLßlIlw" á.".lIQ" ñaa". 




The site of the acropolis of Pergamon was thoroughly ex- 
plored between 1878 and 1886 at the expense of the German 
Government; and in the course of their researches the archeo- 
logists employed discovered certain rooms which they belie\'e to 
have been originally appropriated to the library. I have had 
the accompanying ground-plan (fig. 2) reduced from one of 

. ' 

< > 


 U" a: 






I x 
i .... . 
, 0 
z . 

, 11: 
- . 
;1 . 
'-, . 
I I 




-Lt -9l': 0... 
... 101 :'. \ 

_ '_: 0, 

Iy-9 // 

= _ 

 ...., :>;
;;:i l-\ - E 

í> :
í R E . 
t;}..,:;2: /J 
'" ,,-_,)4ì, . 
....... -
-; ,._þ-;'
L.. '
....' \ 




Fig. 2. Plan of the temple and precinct of Athena. Pergamon; with that of the Library 
and adjacent buildings. 




their plates, and have condensed my description of the locality 
from that given in their work 1. I have also derived much 
va]uable information from a paper published by Alexander 
Conze in 18842. 
Of the temple of Athena only the foundations remain, 
but its extent and position can be readily ascertained. The 
enclosure, paved with slabs of marble, was entered at the 
south-east corner. It was open to the west and to the south, 
where the ground falls away precipitously, but on the east and 
north it was bounded by a cloister in two floors. The piJ]ars 
of this cloister were Doric on the ground-floor, Ionic above. 
The height of those in the lower range, measured from base to 
top of capital, was about 16 feet, of those in the upper range 
about 9 feet. 
This enclosure had a mean length of about 240 feet, with 
a mean breadth of J62 feet 3. The north cloister was 37 feet 
broad, and was divided down the centre by a row of columns. 
The east cloister \\'as of about half this width, and was 
On the north side of the north cloister, the German explorers 
found four rooms, which they bclie\'e to have been assigned to 
library purposes. The platform of rock on which these chambers 
stood was nearly 20 feet above the level of the floor of the en- 
closure, and they could only be entered from the upper cloister. 
Of these rooms the easternmost is the largest, being 42 feet long, 
by 49 feet broad. \\'estward of it are three others, somewhat 
narrower, having a uniform width of 39 feet. The easternmost 

1 AllertÜmer van Pergamon, For., Berlin. 1885, Band II. Das Heiligtum der 
Athena Polias Nikephoros, yon Richard Hahn. The ground-plan (fig. 2) is reduced 
from Plate III. in that volume. 
2 Die Pergammische Bibliothek, Sitzungsherichte der Königl. Preuss. Akad. der 
\Yiss. zu Berlin, 188+> II. 1259-12iO. 
3 In my first lecture as Sandars Reader at Cambridge in the Lent Term, 1900. I 
pointed out that this enclosure was of ahout the same size as 1\evile's Court at Trinity 
College, if to the central area there we add the \\ iùth of one of the cloisters; and that 
the temple of Athena was of exactly the same width as the Hall, but about 15 feet 
shorter. Kevile's Court is 230 feet long from the inside of the pillars supporting 
the Library to the wall of the Hall; and it has a mean br
adth of 13i feet. If the 
width of the cloister, 20 feet, be added to this, we get 15i feet in lieu of the 162 
feet at Pergamon. 




of these three rooms is also the smalIest, being only 23 feet long; 
while the two next have a uniform length of about 33 feet. 
At the south-west corner of this building, but on a lower 
level, and not accessible from it, other rooms were found, the 
lIse of which is uncertain. 
\Ve will now return to the castern room. The foundations 
of a narrow platform or bench extended along the eastern, 
northern, and western sides, and in the centre of the northern 
sidc there was a mass of stonc-work which had evidently formed 
the base for a statue 
fig. 2, A). The discovery of a torso of a 
<;tatue of Athena 1 in this very room indicated what statue had 
occupied this commanding position, and also what had probably 
been the use of the room. 
This theory was confirmed by the discovery in the north 
wall of two rows of holes in the stone-work, one above the other, 
which had evidently been made for the reception of brackets, 
or battens, or other supports for shelves 2 , or some piece of 
furniture. The lower of these two rows was carried along the 
cast wall as well as along the north wall. Further, stones were 
found bearing the names of Herodotus, Alcæus, Timotheus of 
l\liletus, and [[orner, evidently the designations of portrait-busts 
or portrait-medallions; and also, h\o titles of comedies. 
Lastly, the very position of these rooms in connexion \\ ith 
the colonnade indicates their use. It will be observed that the 
colonnade on the north side of the area is twice as wide as that 
on the east side-a peculiarity which is sufficient of itself to 
prove that it must have been intended for some other purpose 
than as a mere covered way. But, if it be remembered that 
libraries in the ancient world were usualIy connected with 
colonnades (as was probably the case at the Serapeum at 
Alexandria, and wa'i certainly the case at Rome, as I shall 
proceed to shew) a reason is found for this dignified construction, 
and a strong confirmation is afforded for the theory that the 
rooms beyond it once contained the famous library. 

I l'\ow in the Royal 
Iuseum, Berlin. 
2 Similar sockets have becn discovered in the \\ ails of the chambers connected 
\\ith the Stoa of King Attalus at Athen<;. These chamhers are thonghtto have been 
shops, and the sockets to have <'upported shehes on "hich \\ares were exposed for 
<;ale. Conze, lit sltþra, p. 1260; Adler, Die 510a tks ^';7lIlrs Alta/os Olt Alhut, 
Berlin, ISH; Murray's lIandbook for Cn"ea, ed. 1884, I. p. 2




\\'hen the Romans had taken possession of Pergamon, those 
who had charge of the city would become familiar with the 
library; and it ,>eems to me almost certain that, when the 
necessity for establishing a public library at Rome had been 
recognised, the splendid structure at Pergamon would be turned 
to as a model. But, if I mistake not, Roman architecture had 
recei\'ed an influence from Pergamon long before this event 
occurred. \Vhat this was I will mention presently. 
No public library was established in Rome until the reign 
of Augustus. Julius Cæsar had intended to build one on the 
largest possible scale, and had gone so far as to commission 
Varro to collect books for it' ; but it was reserved for C. Asinius 
Pollio, general, lawyer, orator, poet, the friend of Virgil and 
Horace, to de\.ote to this purpose the spoils he had obtained 
in his Illyrian campaign, R.c. 39. In the striking words of Pliny 
" he was the first to make men's talents public property (ingmia 
homÙwlIl rem þublimm fecit)." The same writer tells us that he 
also introduced the fashion of decorating libraries with busts of 
departed authors, and that Varro was the only living writer whose 
portrait was admitted 2 . Pollio is further credited, by Suetonius, 
with having built an atriu11l libertatis 3 , in which Isidore, a 
writer of the seventh century, probably quoting a lost work of 
Suetonius, places the library, with the additional information, 
that the collection contained Greek as well as Latin books 4 . 
The work of Pollio is recorded among the acts of generosity 
which Augustus suggested to others. But before long the 
emperor turned his own attention to libraries, and enriched his 
capital with two splendid structures which may be taken as 
types of Roman libraries,-the library of Apollo on the Palatine 
Hill, and that in the Campus l\1artius called after Octavia, sister 
to the emperor. I will take the latter first. 
The PortiCl/s Octa'l'iæ, or, as it was sometimes called, the 
Opera Octa'l'iæ, must have been one of the most magnificent 
structures in Rome (fig. 3). It stood in the Campus Martius, 
near the Theatre of l\larceHus, between the Capitoline Hill and 
the Tiber. A double colonnade surrounded an area which 

, Suet on ius, Cæsar, Chap. 44' 
· Pliny, Nat. Hist., Book VII., Chap. 30; Book xxxv., Chap. 2. 
3 Suetonius, Augustus, Chap. 29. 4 Isidore, Origilles, Book \'1., Chap. 5. 




measured 443 feet by 377 feet, with Jalli, or four-faced arch- 
ways, at the four corners, and on the side next the Tiber a 




......,... f 

. . 




Fig. 3. Plan of the Porticus Octaviæ, Rome. 
From ForJ/uz Vrfis RO
lIa A,111f;uu, B
rlinJ 189l). 

double hexastyle porch, which, with a few fragments of the 
colonnade, still exists in a fairly good state of preservation'. 
\Vithin this space were two temples, one of Jupiter, the other 
of Juno, a curia or hall, in which the Senate frequently met, 
a scho/a or" Conversation Hall"," and two libraries, the one of 
Greek, the other of Latin books. The area and buildings 
were crO\\ded with masterpieces in bronze and marble. 
This structure was originally built by Quintus l\IeteIlus, 
about 146 R.C.! One of the temples was due to his o\\"n liberality, 
the other had been erected by Domitius Lepidus, B.c. 179. 

I Lanciani, "'uins and Excavalzo"s of A miml ROI1l
, ed. ,89;, p. 4 ï'. l\1irJdleton. 
A"c""t Ro"'
, 1892, II. 204, 20;:'. 

 Nibby, Roma A"tica, p. 60.. [Augu
'i aggiunse un luego per cOß\er
chiamato Schola. 
3 Veil. Pat., Book I., Chap. II. Hie e
 :\Iacedonicus qui porticus quæ 
fuere circllludatæ dualJll
ine in
criptione positis. quæ nunc Octa\ iæ porticihus 
ambiuntur, fecerat. 



[ CHAP. 

twenty years before, l\1etellus had fought in a successful campaign 
against Perseus king of Macedonia, in which the Romans had 
been assisted by Eumenes II.: and in H.c. 148, as Prætor, he 
received l\Iacedonia as his province. Is it not possible that on 
one or other of these occasions he may have visited Pergamon, 
and, when designing his buildings in Rome, have copied what 
he had seen there? Again, in B.c. 157, Crates of l\Iallus, a 
distinguished grammarian, was sent from Pergamon as am- 
bassador to Rome, and, being laid up there by an accident, 
gave lectures on grammar, in the course of which he could 
hardly have failed to mention the new library'. 
The buildings of l\1etellus were altered, if not entirely 
rebuilt, by Augustus, H.c. 33, out of the proceeds of his \'ictorious 
campaign against the Dalmatians; with the additional structures 
above enumerated. The scho/a is believed to have stood behind 
the temples, and the libraries behind the sehola, with the curia 
between them". Thus the colonnades, which l\1etellus had 
restricted to the two temples, came at last to serve the double 
purpose for which they were originally intended in connexion 
with a ]ibrary as well as with a temple. 
The temple and area of Apollo on the Palatine Hill, 
which Augustus began B.c. 36 and dedicated n.c. 28, exhibit 
an arrangement precisely similar to that of the Porticus Octaviæ. 
The size was nearly the sames, and the structures included in 
the area were intended to sen-e the same purposes. The 
temple stood in the middle of a large open peristyle, connected 
with which were two libraries. one for Greek, the other for Latin 
books; and between them, used perhaps as a reading-room or 
vestibule, was a hall in which Augustus occasionally convened 
the Senate. It contained a colossal statue of Apollo, made of 
gilt bronze; and on its walls were portrait-reliefs of celebrated 
writers, in the form of medallions, in the same material4. 
1 Suet. De IJ/tlstr. Gramm. c. 2. 2 Middleton, Allciellt R011lC, 18 9 2 , If. 20s. 
3 I have taken these dimensions from Middleton's Plan of the Palatine Hill 
(111 suþra, p. IS6), but until the site has been excavated the}' must be more or less 
4 Middleton, Ibid., I. I!jS-I88. The evidence for the portraits rests on the 
following passage in the Allnals of Tacitus ii. 3i, where he is relating how Hortalus, 
grandson of the orator Hortensius, being reduced to povert}', came with his four 
children to the Senate: .. igitur quatuor filiis ante limen curiæ ad stantibus, loco 
sententiæ, cum in Palatio senatus haberetur, modo Hortensii inter oratores sitam 
imaginem, modo AlIgIlsti, intuens, ad hllnc mod urn cæpit." 




Of the other public libraries of Rome-of which there are 
said to have been in all twenty-six-I need mention only three 
as possessing some peculiarity to which I shall ha\'e to draw 
attention. Of these the first was established by Tiberius in his 
palace, at no great distance from the library of Apollo; the 
second and third by Vespasian and Trajan in their Fora, 
connected in the one with the temple of Peace, and in the 
other with the temple dedicated in honour of Trajan himself. 
Of the first two of these libraries we have no information; 
but in the case of the third we are more fortunate. The Forum 



4ðO fEU 

Fig. 4. Plan ofth" Forum of Trajan ; aft"r Nibby. 



[ CHAP. 

of Trajan (fig. 4) was excavated by order of Napoleon I., and the 
extent of its buildings, with their relation to one another, is 
therefore known with approximate accuracy. The Greek and 
Latin libraries stood to the right and ]eft of the small court 
between the Basilica Ulpia and the TC1Ilpbwi DiL'i Trajani, the 
centre of which was marked by the existing Column. They were 
entered from this court, each through a portico of five inter- 
columñiations. The rooms, measured internally, were about 60 
feet long, by 45 feet broad. 
At this point I must mention, parenthetically, the library 
built by Hadrian at Athens. Pausanias records it in the 
following passage: 
Hadrian also built for the Athenians a temple of Hera and 
Panhellenian Zeus, and a sanctuary common to all the gods. But 
most splendid of all are one hundred columns; walls and colonnades 
alike are made of Phrygian marble. Here, too, is a building adorned 
with a gilded roof and alabaster and also with statues and paintings: 
books are stored in it. There is also a gymnasium named after 
Hadrian; it too has one hundred columns from the quarries of Libya '. 
A building called the Stoa of Hadrian, a ground-plan of 
which (fig. 5) I borrow from Miss Harrison'
 MJ1thology and 
l1Ionlt1llellts of Ancient AthClls, has been identified with part at 
least of that which Pausanias describes in the above passage. 
A lofty wall, built of large square blocks of Pentelic marble, 
faced on the west side by a row of Corinthian columns, enclosed 
a quadrangular court, measuring 328 feet from east to west, 
by 250 feet from north to south. This court, entered through 
a sort of propylæa on the west side (N), was surrounded by a 
cloister or colonnade 27 feet wide, and containing 100 columns. 
None of those columns are standing, but their number can be 
accurately calculated from the marks of the bases still to be 
seen on the eastern side of the quadrangle. 
\Vithin this area are the remains of a building of uncertain 
use, and at present only partially excavated. 
On the east side a row of five chambers, of which that 
in the centre was the largest, opened off from the colon- 

, Pausanias, Attica, Book I., Chap. 18, 
 9, ed. J. G. Frazer. Vol. I., p. 26. 
J The above description is derived from !\Iiss Harrison's book, lit suþra, 
pp. 195-198; Pausanias, cd. J. G. Frazer, Vol. II., pp. 184, 18 5. 






.1II1!5ID.111111 G:,:; 

.. .. .. 

.- .. T 











I " 




! , 











Fig. 5 Plan of the Stoa of Hadnan, at Athens. 

AE, 1\:1. Pier.arcade of Ihe medieval church of the Panagia. 
B. :\orth.ea.t angle of Ihis church. of Roman \\ork. 
B, C, D, F. Portions of the Roman building which preceded the church. 
I. Re",rvoirs. 
K. f'ropylæa through which the court was entered. 

If the ground plan of this structure (fig. 5) be compared 
with that of the prccinct of Athcna and library at Pergamon 
(fig-. 2), a striking similarity betwccn thcm wil1 at once be 

c. L. 





recognised; and, whate\-er may have been the destination of the 
building within the cloistered area, there can, I think, be little 
doubt that the library was contained in the fi\'e rooms beyond 
its limits to the east. They must have been entered from the 
cloister. much as those at Pergamon were. I t is possible that 
Hadrian may himself have visited Pergamon, for Trajan had 
built an imperial residence there; but, even if he did not do 
this, he would accept the type from the great libraries built 
at Rome by Augustus_ It should be mentioned that S. Jerome 
"pecially commemorates this library among Hadrian's works at 
Athens, and says that it was of remarkable construction (11liri 
From thi... brief digression I return to the public libraries of 
Rome. In the first p]ace those built by Augustus had a regular 
organisation. There appears to have been a general director 
called Procurator Bibliothecan/lll Augus/i'; and subordinate 
officers for each division: that is to say, one for the Greek 
books, one for the Latin books. These facts are derived from 
inscriptions found in Columbaria. Secondly, it may be concluded 
that they were used not merely for reading and reference, but as 
meeting-places for literary men. 
The Palatine libraries evidently contained a large collection 
of old and new books; and I think it is quite certain that new 
books, as soon as pu blished, were placed there, unless there was 
some special reason to the contrary. Otherwise there would be 
no point in the lines in which Ovid makes his book-sent 
from Pontus after his banishment-deplore its exclusion. The 
book is supposed to climb from the Forum to the temple of 

Signa peregrinis ubi sunt alterna columnis 
Belides et stricto barbarus ense pater 
Quæque viri docto veteres cæpere novique 
Pectore lecturis inspicienda patent. 
Quærebam fratres eJ\.ceptis scilicet iHis 
Quos suus optaret non genuisse parens j 
Quærentem frustra custos e sedibus iHis 
Præpositus sancto iussit ahire locos. 

1 Eusebius, Chrollico1l, ed. Schöne, Vol. II., p. 16j. 

 l\Iiddleton, A 1IÛmt Rome, I. 11>6. 
3 Tristia, II I - 





"-here, set between each pair of columns from some foreign quarry, 
are statues of the Danaids, and their barbarous father with drawn 
s\\ord; and where whattH:r the minds of men of old or men of to-day 
ha\e imagined, is laid open for a reader's use. I sought my brethren, 
sa\e those of course \\hom their father \\ould fain have never begotten; 
and, while I was seeking for them in \-ain, he \\ ho wa<; set over the 
room bade me leave that holy ground. 
The second couplet can only mean that old books and new 
books were alike to be found there. The general nature of thc 
collection, and its extent, may be further gathered from the 
advice \\ hich Horace gi\-es to his friend Celsus: 
Quid mihi Celsus agit? monitu
 multumque monendus 
Privatas ut quærat opes, et tangere vitet 
Scripta Palatinus quæcunque recepit .\pollo'. 
"'hat is my friend Celsus about? he who has been reminded, and 
must still he reminded again and again, that he should dra\\ upon his 
0\\ n resources, and be careful to avoid the multifarious \\fitings which 
Palatine Apollo has taken under his charge. 
.-\. man might say now-a-days, "Trust to your own wits. and 
don't go so often to the library of the British :\Iuseum." 
:\ulus Gellius, who liwd A.D. [17-180, speaks of "sitting 
"ith a party of fricnds in the library of the palace of Tiberius, 
when a book happencd to be taken down with the title :\1. 
Caton is Xepotis," and they began asking one another who 
this 1\1. Cato 
 epos might be 2 . This library contained also 
public records 3. 
The same writer tells a story of a grammatical difficulty 
"hich was to be settled by reference to a book ill tOJ1p/o Pacis, 
in the forum of Vespasian; and again, when a particular book 
was \\ antcd, .. we hunted for it diligently," he says, "and, when 
\\'e had found it in the temple of Peace, we read it
The library in the forum of Trajan, oftcn called Bib/iolhcca 
["!pia, was apparently the Public Record Office of Rome. Aulus 
Gellius mentions that some decrees of former prætors had fallen 
in his way there when he was looking for something else, and 
that he had been aUowed to read them ð; and a statement of 
\' opiscus is still more conc\usi,-e as to the nature of its contents. 
It teUs us, moreover, something- about the arrangement. In 
1 Epist., I. 3. 'i. 2 lv.y/u Atlie,l', v. 21. 9' 
o. \ opiscus, Hisl. Atlg. Script., II. 63i. 

 Auh" Gclliu" "I supra, X\L 8.2. · {hlei.. XI. Ij_ I. 





his life of the Emperor Tacitus (Sept. A.D. 27S-Apr. 27 6 ) 
V opiscus says: 
And lest anybody should think that I have given too hasty a 
credence to a Greek or Latin author, the Ulpian Library has in its 
sixth press (armarium) an ivory volume (librulll elephalllinum) in which 
the following decree of the Senate, signed by Tacitus with his own 
hand, is recorded, etc. I 
Again, in his life of the Emperor Aurelian, the same writer 
records how his friend Junius Tiberianus, prefect of the city, had 
urged him to undertake the task, and had assured him that: 
"even the linen-books (/ibri /intei) shall be brought out of the 
Ulpian library for your use 2 ." 
Rooks could occasionally be borrowed from a public library, 
but whether from one of those in the city of Rome, I cannot say. 
The scene of the story which proves this is laid by Aulus Gellius 
at Tibur (Tivoli), where the libralY was in the temple of Hercules 
-another instance of the care of a library being entrusted to a 
temple. Aulus Gellius and some friends of his were assembled 
in a rich man's villa there at the hottest season of the year. 
They were drinking melted snow, a proceéding against which 
one of the party, a peripatetic philosopher, vehemently pro- 
testeù, urging against the practice the authority of numerous 
physicians and of Aristotle himself. Rut none the less the 
party went on drinking snow-water. \\'hereupon" he fetched 
a treatise by Aristotle out of the library of Tibur, which was 
then very conveniently accommodated in the temple of Her- 
cules, and brought it to us, saying- 3 ." But I need not finish the 
quotation, as it has no bearing on my special subject. 
It is probable that numerous collections of books had been 
got together by individuals in Rome, before it occurred to 
Augustus and his friends to erect public libraries. One such 
library, that belonging to the rich and luxurious Lucullus, has 
been noticed as follows by Plutarch 4 : 

1 Flavii Vopisci Tacitus, c. 8. 2 Id., Altrelianlts, C. I. 
3 Nodes Atticæ, XIX. 5. 
4 Plutarch, LIU:U/lltS, Chap. XLII. :::;",ovóiìs ó' å
'a Kal M'Yov Tà " T1W TWV ß'ßXlwv 
KaTauKw1jv. Ka! 'Yàp ".oxxá, Ka! 'Y..ypap.lJ.lva KaXws, uvviì'Y" ; T' xpiìu,s 
v 4"Xonp.oTfpa 
ri}s KTf)UEWS, à."EI.P.fJlWV 1f'âUL TWII ßtß'XLo8TjKWV, Ka[ TWV 1rEpl aVTås 7rEpL7råTWV Kal ux oXa - 
uT1}plwv àKWXÚTWS ú".OÖ'XOP.fVWV Toùs"EXX1}vas, WU".EP fls l\lovuwv T' KaTa'YW-yIOV lKElU' 
tþO'TWVTaS Kal UVVÖ'1JI1.EPEÍ'ovTM àXX1jXms, à".ô TWV áXXwv XPELWV àup.lvw<; à".OTpfxovTas. 




His procedure in regard to books was interesting and remarkable. 
He collected fine copies in large numbers; and if he \\a<; splendid in 
their acquisition, he was more so in their use. His libraries were 
accessible to all, and the adjoining colonnades and reading-rooms \\ere 
freely open to Greeks, \\ ho, gladly escaping from the routine of business, 
resorted thither for familiar converse, as to a shelter presided over by 
the 1\1 uses. 

The Romans ,,'ere not slow in follO\\ ing the example set by 
Lucullus; and a library presently became indispensable in every 
house, whether the owner cared for reaùing or not. This fashion- 
able craze is denounced by Seneca (,\ riting about A.D. 49) in a 
,"ehement outburst of indignation, which contains so many valu- 
able facts about library arrangement, that I will give a free 
translation of it. 

Outlay upon studies, best of all outlays, is rea'ionable so long only 
as it is kept \\ ithin certain limits. ""hat is the use of books and 
libraries innumerable, if scarce in a lifetime the master reads the titles? 
A student is burdened by a crowd of authors, not instructed; and it is 
far better to de\ote }ourself to a fe\\, than to lose your way among a 
Forty thousand books were burnt at .\.le-.andria. I lea\'e others to 
praise this splendid monument of royal opulence, as for e...ample Liv}, 
who regards it as "a noble work of royal taste and royal thoughtfulness." 
It wao; not taste, it \\as not thoughtfulness, it \\as learned extrmagance 
-nay not e\'en learned, for the} had bought their book<; for the sake of 
!'ohm\, not for the sake of learning-just as with many \\ho are ignorant 
e\en of the lowest branches of learning books are not instruments of 
study, but ornaments of dining-rooms. Procure then as many books as 
\\ ill suffice for use; but not a !'oingle one for show. You will reply: 
"Outlay on such objects is preferable to e...tra\agance on plate or 
paintings." Exce!'os in all directions is bad" \\ hy should you excuse 
a man who \\ ishes to possess book-presses inlaid \\ ith arbor-2'i/æ wood 
or ivory: \\ ho gathers together masses of authors either unkno\\ n or 
discredited; who yawns among his thousands of books; and who 
derives his chief delight from their edges and their tickets? 
You \\ ill find then in the libraries of the most arrant idlers all 
that orators or historians ha\'e written- -book-cases built up as high as 
the ceiling. Nowadays a library takes rank \\ith a bathroom as a 
necessary ornament of a house. I could forgi\'e such ideas, if they 
were due to e...travagant desire for learning. .\s it is, these productions 
of men \\ hose genius \\e revere, paid for at a high price, \\ ith their 
portraits ranged in line abO\e them, are got together to adorn and 
beautify a wall'. 

I De Tranquillilale Alli11l;, Chap. IX. Studiorum quoque quæ liberali-.ima 
a est, tallllliu laliunem halJet quamdiu mudum. Quu innumeraLilt:. liLru




A ]ibrary was discovered in Rome by Signor Lanciani in 
1883 while excavating a house of the 4th century on the 
Esquiline in the modern Via dello Statuto. I will narratc 
the discovery in his o\\'n words. 
I "as struck, one afternoon, with the appearance of a rather 
spacious hall [it was about 23 feet long by IS feet broad], the walls 
of which were plain and unornamented up to a certain height, but 
beautifully decorated abO\'e in stucco-work. The decoration consisted 
of fluted pilasters, fi\'e feet apart from centre to centre, enclosing a 
plain square surface, in the middle of which there were medallions, also 
in stucco-work, two feet in diameter. As always happens in these cases, 
the frame was the only well-preserved portion of the medallions. Of 
the images surrounded by the frames, of the medallions themseh-es, 
absolutely nothing was left ill sitll, except a few fragments piled up 
at the foot of the wall, which, however, could be identified as ha\ing 
been representations of human faces. .:\Iy hope that, at last, after 
fifteen years of excavations, I had succeeded in discovering a library, 
was confirmed beyond any doubt by a legend, written, or rather 
painted, in bright red colour on one of the frames. There was but 
one name POLONIYS THY.\N..., but this name told more plainly the 
purpose of the apartment than if I had discm'ered there the actual 
book-sheh-es and their contents I. 

\\'hen I had the pleasure of meeting Signor Lanciani in 
Romc in April, 1898, he most kindly gave me his own sketch 

bibliothecas ql:arum dominus \'ix IOta vita indices perlegit? onerat discentem turha, 
non instruit, multoque sat ius est paucis te auctorihus tradere, quam errare per multos. 
Quadraginta milia libronlln Alexandriæ arserunt: pulcherrimum regiæ opulentiæ 
l110numentum alius laudavelÎt, sicut et Li\"ius, qui deg<llltÙe regu", alra'que eg1<'giu//l it! 
oþus ait jitisse: non fuit elegantia illud aut cura, sed studiosa luxuria, immo ne 
studio.a quidem, quoniam non in studium sed in spectaculum compara\'erant sicut 
plerisque ignaris etiam sen'ilium literamm lihri non studiorum instrumenta sed 
cænationum ornamenta sunt. l'aretur itaque librorum quantum satis sit, nihil in 
adparatum, .. Honestius " inquis .. hoc impensis quas in Corinthia pictasque tahulas 
effuderim." \ï est uhique quod nimium e,t. Quid hahts cur ignoscas homini 
armaria citro atljue ebore captanti, corpora conquirenti aut ignotorum auctorum aut 
improhatorum et inter tot milia librOlum oscitanti, cui ,"oluminum suonlln frontes 
maxime placent titulique? A pud desidiosissimos ergo \ idebis quicquid orationum 
historiarumque est, tecto tenus exstructa loculamenta. lam enim inter balnearia et 
thermas bibliotheca quoque ut nece"arium domus ornamentul1l e"politur. Ignoscerem 
plane, si studiorum nimia cupidine oriretur: nunc ista conquisita, cum imaginihus suis 
descripta, ,acrorum opera ingeniOlum in speciem et cultum parietum comparantur. 
With Ihis pas.age mar be compared Lucian's Iracl : IIpðf å'lf"alðwTOv Ka, 'If"o
'à ß'ß
WVOVJ1.fVOV. Mr friend 
Ir F. Dar\\in informs me that tne Latin citrus, or Greek 
KlöpOf, is the coniferous tree called T/lllia OJ ticulata = Callitn',- quadriz'ah'is. See 
Helm, KllltuJ"þji011:;en, Ber!. 189f' Eng!. Trans. p. f31. 
I Lanciani, All<Ï,llt RV//le, H\"o. I

, p. 193. 


1l0t:"SE IX \1.\ DELLO ST.-\TUTO 


of the pilasters and medallion, taken at the moment of discovery. 
I am therefore able to reproduce exactly (fig. 6) one cumpart- 
ment of the wall of the library above described. The height 



L I 


" , 

. , 
-W tt! I "\' I' II" 
. I, U" 



, ' 



Fig. 6. Elevation of a single compartment of the wall of the Library discovered 
in Rome, 1883- 
From notes and measurements made by Signor Lanciani and Prof. :\Iiddleton. 

of the blank wall below the stucco-work, against which the 
furniture containing the books stood, has been laid down as 
about 3 feet 6 inches, on the authurity of Professor :\Iiddleton '. 
The remains of the medallion are still to be seen in the l\Iuseo 
del Orto Botanico, Rome. The person commemorated is ob- 
viously .-\pollonius Tyaneus, a Pythagorean philosopher and 
wonderworker, said to ha\Oe been born about four years before 
the Christian era. 
,\ similar room was discovered at Herculaneum in I ï 54. 
A full account of the discovery wa,> drawn up at once by 
Signor Paderni, keeper of the Herculaneum 1\I useum, and ad- 
dressed to Thomas llollis, Esq., by whom it was submitted to 
the Royal Society. I will extract, from this alld subsequent 
letters, the passages that bear upon my subject. 

I AII.;ell' ROlli. ed. ,8\}2, II. 25... 




iVaþlt's, 27 Aþril, 1754. 
...The place where they are digging, at present, is under II Bosco di 
Sallt'Agostil/o..__.\ll th
 buildings discover'd in this site are noble ; 
one there has been found an entire library, compos'd of volumes of the 
Egyptian Papyrus, of which there have been taken out about 250....1 

To the same. 

18 October, 1754. 
...As yet we have only entered into one room, the floor of which is 
formed of mosaic work, not u.neIegant. It appears to have been a 
library, adorned with presses, inlaid with different sorts of wood, 
disposed in rows; at the top of which were cornices, as in our own 
I was buried in this spot more than twelve days, to carry off the 
volumes found there; many of which were so perished, that it \\as 
impossible to remove them. Those which I took away amounted to 
the number of three hundred and thirty-seven, all of them at present 
uncapable of being opened. These are all written in Creek characters. 
While I was busy in this work I obsen'ed a large bundle, which, from 
the size, I imagined must contain more than a single volume. I tried 
with the utmost care to get it out, but could not, from the damp and 
weight of it. However I perceived that it consisted of about 18 volumes, 
each of which was in length a palm anò three Neapolitan inches, being 
the largest hitherto discovered. They Were wrapped about with the 
bark of a tree and covered at each end with a piece of wood. .\ll these 
were written in Latin, as appears by a few words which broke off from 
them. I was in hopes to have got something out of them, but they are 
in a worse condition than the Greek 2,... 

From Sir J. Gra}', Bart. 

29 October, 1754. 
...They have lately met \\ith more rolls of Paþyri of different 
lengths and sizes, some with the UmbiliCllS remaining in them: the 
greater part are Greek in small capitals....The Epicurean Philosophy 
is the subject of another fragment. 
A small hust of Epicurus, with his name in Greek characters, was 
found in the same room, and was possibly the ornament of that part of 
the library where the writings in favour of his principles were kept; and 
it may also be supposed that some other heads of philosophers found in 
the same room were placed with the same taste and propriet y 3. 

Between 1758 and 1763, the place was visited by \Vinckel- 
mann, who wrote long letters in Italian, dcstribing what he saw, 
to Consigliere Bianconi, Physician to the King of Saxony. 
One of these, dated 1762, gives the follo\\'ing account of the 

1 Phil. TraIls., Vol. XL\'III., PI 2, p. 6]4. 
3 Ibid., p. 82 5. 

2 Ibid., p. 82 I. 




II luogo in cui per la prima volta caddero sott' occhio, fu una 
piccola stanza nella villa d' Ercolano di cui parlammo sopra, la cui 
lunghezza due uomini colle braccia di
tese potevano misurare. Tutto 
all' intorno del muro \i erano degli scaffali quali si vedono ordinariamente 
negli archi\; ad altezza d' uomo, e nel mezzo della stanza \' era un altro 
scaff ale simile 0 tavola per tenen i scritture, e tale da poten i girare 
intorno. Illegno di questa tavola era ridotto a carboni, e cadde, come 
è facile ad imaginarseio, tutta in pezzi quando si toccò. Alcuni di 
questi rotoli di papiri si trovarono imolti im,ieme con carta più gros- 
solana, di quella qualità che gli antichi chiama\ano e1//þoretica, e questi 
probabilmente forma\ano Ie parti ed i libri d' un' opera intiera '.... 
The place in \1 hich they [the rolls] were first seen \\as a small room 
in the \;lla at Herculaneum of \\hich \\e !'poke abO\-e, the length of 
II hich could be Co\ ered by two men \\ ith their arms extended. All 
round the wall there \\ere book-cases such as are commonly seen in 
record-rooms, of a man's height, and in the middle of the room there 
was another similar book-case or table to hold \\ritings, of such a siæ 
that one could go round it. The wood of this table \\as reduced to 
charcoal, and, a<; may easily be imagined, fell all to pieces \\ hen it \\ as 
touched. Some of these pap}rus rolls were found fastened together 
\\ ith paper of coarser texture, of that qual it} \\ hich the ancients called 
cmþordim, and these probably formed the parts and books of an entire 

The information which these obsen'ers ha,'e given us amounts 
to this: the room was about 12 feet long, with a floor of mosaic. 
Against the waIls stood presses, of a man's height, inlaid with 
different sorts of wood, disposed in rows, with cornice" at the 
top; and there was also a table, or press, in the centre of the 
room. Most of the rolls were separate, but a bundle of eighteen 
wa., foùnd .. wrapped about \\ ith the bark of a tree, and covered 
at each end with a piece of wood." A room so smaIl as this 
could hardly ha\'e been intended fur study. It must rather ha\'e 
been the place where the books were put away after they had 
been read elsewhere. 
Before I quit this part of my subject, I should like to 
mention one other building, a" its arrangements throw light 
on the question of fitting up libraries and record-offices. I 
allude to the structure built by Vespasian, A.I>. 78, to contain 
the documents relating to his restoration of the city of Rome. 
It stood at the south-wc<;t corner of the Forum of Peace, and 
what now exists of it is known as the Church of SS. Cosma 
e Damiano. 

, Of,/( Ji G. G. lVin,-kdmaml, Prato, 1831, \ II. J




The general arrangement and relation to adjoining structures 
will be understood from the plan (fig. ï). The room was about 

Co N ST ANT 11'11 E IF' I' L. 
.'-" [ J 
l . > 
"k<' U) 
@I Þ. 
/0 5 1"!"






' "'
.s- I.. V 111 

"4 Zç
"0 0 t 

 000 JJ 








Fig. 7. Plan of the Record-House of Vespasian. with the adjoining structures" 


125 feet long by 65 feet broad, with two entrances, one on the 
north-west, from the Forllm Pads, through a hexastyle portico 
(fig. 7. 2), the other on the north-east, through a square-headed 
doorway of travertine which still exists (ibid. I) together with 
a considerable portion of a massi\"e wall of Vespasian's time. 
After a restoration by Cardcalla the building came to be called 
Temp/IIJ1l Sacræ Urbis. It was first consecrated as a church 
by pope Felix IV. (526-530), but he did little more than 
connect it with the Heroon Ro- 
1Jll/1i (ibid. 5), and build the apse 
(ibid. 4). 
The whole building was mer- 
cilessly mutilated by pope C rban 
VIII. in [632; but fortunately a 
drawing of thc interior had becn 
made by Pirro Ligorio in the 
second half of thc sixtecnth cen- 
tury, when the original treatment 
of the walls was practically intact. 

Fig. 8. Part of the internal wall orthe 
Record-House orVespasian. 
Reduced from a sketch taken in the 16th 
century by Pi. ro Ligorio 




I gi,-e a reduced copy of a small portion ofthis drawing (fig. 8). 
As Lanciani says: 
The walls were di\ided into three horÏJoontal bands by finely cut 
cornices. The upper band \\as occupied by the \\indo\\s; the lower 
W.iS simply lined \\ith marble slabs cm-ercd h) the hookcases..-\\hich 
contained the.. . records.. ; the middle one wa,; incrusted \\ ith tarsia- 
work of the rarest kinds of marble \\ ith panels representing panoplies, 
the \\olf\\ith the infant founders of Rome, and other allegorical sceneS I. 
I explained at the beginning of this chapter that my subject 
is the care of books, not books themseh'es; but, at the point 
\\'hich \\e ha,'e now reached in regard to Roman libraries, it is 
necessary to make a few remarks about their contents. It must 
be remembered, in the first place, that those \\ ho fitted them up 
had to deal with rolls (í'O!1l11lÙza), probably of papyrus, but 
possibly of parchment; and that a book, as we understand the 
\\ ord, the Latin equi\'alent for which was codn-, did not come 
into general use until long after the Christian era. Some points 
about these rolls require notice. 
The length and the width of the roll depended on the taste or 
convenience of the '\"fiter
. The contents were written in columns, 
the lines of which ran parallel to the long dimension 3 , and the 
reader, holding the roll in both hands, rolled up the part he had 
finished with his left hand, and unrolled the unread portion 
with his right. This \\ ay uf dealing with the roll is ,,'ell shewn 
in the accompanying illustration (fig. 9) reduced from a fresco 
at Pompeii.. In most examples the two halves of the roll are 
turned inwards, as for instance in the \\ ell-kno\\ n statUe of 
Demosthenes in the \' atican 6, The end of the roll was fastened 

1 Lanciani, RuillS of Allcimt Rome, pp. 213-21;. lIe de
crihes and figure< 
Lignrio's ele\ation, from :\15. \"at. 3".W, in CIJmmisslO1l Arch,ologica Comlmak di 
ROllla, Ann, x. Scr. II., I
S2, pp. 29--;;... See also 'Iiddleton, Allciellt Rome, 1892. 
II. 1;;- -II}. The plan of Rome called the Capitoline Plan, becau'e it is no\\ pre- 

erved in the )Iu.eum of the Capitol, wa, fi..p(I to the north-east \\all (fig. ;. 3)' 
. The average length of a roll may be taken at 20-30 ft.; the width at 9-11 in. 
See The Pal.zolf'"aphy of Crlek Papp'i, by F. G. Ken)on, OxL 1899. Chap. II. 
3 The hreadth of the<e columl" from left to right wa. not great, and their length 
\\a5 con_iderahly ,horter than Ihe \\idth of the roll, a
 a margin \\a. left at the top 
and bottom. 
. Alltichil<Ì rii Ercolallo. Fol. Xapoli, l;i9' Vol. V., Tavola ;;;;, p. 2..,

 In thi
 statue Ihe roll is a re
toration. but a perfectl} correct one. It i, origin...I, 
and slightly difl"erent, in the replica of the ,tatue at Knowlc Park, Sevenoak" hent. 
See a paper on thi, -tatue hy J. F. Sand).. Litt.D.. in .J/,llln,E:es lI'eil. IS98. 
pp. ..23-.. 2 !j. 




to a stick (usually referred to as umbiliClls or umbilici). It is 
obvious that this word ought properly to denote the ends of the 

,... l 

I;f :'1 
." :: ,I ø
 " $ :' '., \: 
If I
/,': "

 r t . <.-
'0 r ", '

 : -
_ -$ #i" 
,i/ 1\" \ ,.<,-,".,:: 
1I1J! *,
,; \.:

'":' ;


- ., "'''''" 
\t 'I: r.-
,'\ . .
' :;n"f't .";'" 
I,' """4 ).

,", t;. 'l' 



- - '- 


",' - 
\.:..:.. -


. -. '. -0' 1i 
'..:,:::':..:j " J ilt, 
-c:' :# 

:....:.i ,';. 

Fig. 9. A reader with a roll: from a fresco at Pompeii. 

stick only, but it was constantly applied to the whole stick, and 
not to a part of it, as for instance in the following lines: 
.. .deus nam me vetat 
Inceptos olim promissum carmen iambos 
Ad umbilicum adducére'. 
... for heaven forbids me to cO\'er the scroll down to the stick 
with the iambic lines I had begun-a song promised long ago to the 
These sticks were sometimes painted or gilt, and furnished 
with projecting knobs V017ma) similarly decorated, intended to 
serve both as an ornament, and as a contrivance to keep the 
ends of the roll even, \\ hile it was being rolled up. The sides of 
the long dimension of the roll (frollles) were carefully cut, so 
as to be perfectly symmetrical, and afterwards smoothed with 
pumice-stone and coloured. A ticket 
illdex or Ii/u/us, in Greek 

I Horace, Epodes, XIV. S-M. Compo ;\Iartial, Epigm11ls, 1\-. 
9' Ohe! libelle, 
lam p"rvellimus usque ad umbilicns. 




uí:ÀÀvßo<:; or UíTTVßO<:;), made of a piece of papyrus or parchment, 
was fastened to the edge of the roll in such a way that it 
hung out over one or other of the ends. As Ovid says: 
Cetera turba palam titulos ostendet apertos 
Et sua detecta nomina fronte geret '. 
The others \\ ill flaunt their titles openly, and carry their names on 
an uncmered edge. 
The roll wa.;; kept closed by string.;; or straps (Iora), usually 
of some bright colour"; and if it wa" specially precious, an en- 
velope \\hich the Greeks called a jacket (Duþ8ipa l ), made of 
parchment or some other substance, was prO\oided. Says Martial: 
Perfer .\te!.tinæ nondum \ ulgata Sabinæ 
Carmina, purpurea sed modo culta toga '. 
Comey to Sabina at Ateste these verses. They have not yet heen 
published, and have been but lately dressed in a purple garment. 
:'.lartial has combined in a single epigram most of the 
ornaments with \\ hich rolls could be decorated. This I will 
quote next, premising that the oil of cedar, or arbor-1.'itæ, men- 
tioned in the second line not only imparted an agreeable yellow 
colour, but was held to be an antiscptic 5 . 
Faustini fugis in sinum? sapisti. 
Cedro nunc licd ambules perunctus 
Et frontis gemino decens honore 
Pictis luxurieris umbilicis, 
Et te purpura ddicata veld, 
Et cocco ruheat superbus indc-" ð. 
His book had selected the biblioma
iac Faustinus as a 
patron. Xo\\', says the poet, you shall be anointed \\ith oil of 

, Tris/;a, I. i. 109. 

 Catul\us (xxii. i) sa}s of a roll "hich had been got up \\ith special smartness: 

ovi umbilici, lora ruLra, membrana 
Directa plumbo, et pumice omnia æquata. 
. Lucian, Ad
'. ["dod., Chap. 16. · r.pigrams, x. 93, 
Iy friend 
1. R. James, I ill. D., of King', C"llege, has \..indly given me the 
follo\\ing note: In the apocryphal _-h_umption of "o,es Joshua i
 told to . cedar' 

Iose-' \\ords (=fOl\
), and to lay them up in Jerusalem: "quos ordinabi
chedriabis et repone
 in \asis fictilihlh in loco quem fLcit [Ueu.] ab initio creaturæ 
orbis terrarum." Assump. Mo.., ed. Charles, I. Ii. See also Dueange, s.v. Cedria. 
\ïtruvius (II. ix. 13) says: "ex cedr!> oleum quod cedreum dicitur nascitur. quo 
reliquæ res cum sint unctæ. uti t:tiam linri. a tinei. et earie non læduntur." s\
p. 22. 6 Lji.../Cll/l_\, III. ii. 6. 

3 0 



cedar; you shall revel in the decoration of both your sets of 
edges; your sticks shall be painted; your covering shall be 
purple, and your ticket scarJet. 
\Vhen a number of rolls had to be carried from one place to 
another, they were put into a box (scriIlÙ"Jl or capsa). This 
receptacle was cylindrical in shape, not unlike a modern hat-box '. 
It was carried by a flexible handle, attached to a ring on each 
side; and the lid was held down by what looks very like a 
modern lock. The eighteen roUs, found in a bundle at Hercu- 
laneum, had doubtless been kept in a similar receptacle. 
l\ly illustration (fig. 10) is from a fresco at Herculaneum. 
It will be noticed that 
each roll is furnished with 
a ticket {filllllls). At the 
feet of the statue of De- 
mosthenes already refer- 
red to, and of that of 
Sophocles, are capsæ, both 
of which show the flexible 
I wiU next coUect the 
information available re- 
specting the fittings used 
in Roman libraries. I 
admit that it is scattered 
and imperfect; but legitimate deductions may, I think, be 
arrived at from it, which will give us tolerably certain ideas 
of the appearance of one of those collections. 
The words used to designate such fittings are: nidlls; fontills, 
or more usually fOndi; IOOllalllCllta; pilltms; pcglllata. 
Nidus needs no explanation. It can only mean a pigeon- 
hole. Martial uses it of a bookseller, at whose shop "is own 
poems may be bought. 
De primo dabit alterove Illao 
Rasum pumice purpuraque cultum 
Denaris tibi quinque !\Iartialem 2. 



'i';'::nlll. Jr 
.. .

'Iij l l: 'J,I 
....." . 
... ;
i: . 7 1l
 II 1:- 
:,.,;-".;..., "" ". "",,,
:-.,;::: ::. .õ.

':..:.:: . ...

; ." .

..u.. . 

,.":.... '. ', -' 


",... ,"




Fig. 10. Book-box or capsa. 

1 Ovid (Tristia, I. i. IOS) addre"ing his hook, says: 
Cum tamen in no
trum flleris pcnetraJe recepllls 
Contigerisqlle tuam, scrinia cuna, domlll11. 
2 EPigrams, I. 11 j. 



3 1 

Out of hi.. fir
t or 
econd pigeon-hole, polished \\ ith pumice stone, 
and smart with a purple cmering, for five denarii he will give you 
In a subsequent epigram the word occurs with reference to 
a private library, to which the poet is sending a copy of his 

Ruris bibliotheca delicati, 
Yicinam ddet unde lector urbem, 
Inter carmina sanctiora si quis 
Lasci\æ fuerit locus Thaliæ, 
Hos llido licet inseras \el imo 
Septem quos tibi misimus libellos l . 
o library of that well-appointed villa \\ hence a reader can see the 
City near at hand-if among more serious poems therc be any room for 
the wanton :\luse of Comedy. you may place these seven little books I 
send you even in your lowest pigeon-hole. 
Fontlus or fOYl/1i occurs in the following passages, Suetonius, 
after describing the building of the temple of the Palatine Apollo 
by Augustus, adds, .. he placed the Sibylline books in two gilt 
receptacles (fontlis) under the base of the statue of Palatine 
.-\pollo "2; and Juvenal, enumerating the gifts that a rich man 
is sure to receive if burnt out of house and home, says, 
Hic lihros dahit, et font/os, mediamque \linenam 3 . 
The word is of uncertain deri\ ation, but fOYltS, of which it is 
clearly the diminutive, is used by Virgil for the cells of bees: 
Complehuntque foros et floribus horrea te'\.cnt 4 . 
The abm'e-quoted passage of J uvenal may therefore be 
rendered: .. Another will gi\'e books, and cells to put them 
in, anrl a statue of :\Iinerva for the middle of the room." 
The word loculalllClltulIl is explained in a passage of 
Columella, in which he gives directions for the making of 
I et small be placed close together. with planks laid across 
them to carry cells (/ocu/aJ//ell/a) for the birds to build their nests in, or 
sets of pigeon-holes made of earthem\are'. 

I Epigrams, \11. Ii. 
2 Suet. Aug, 3 1 , Libws SihyIlinoo conrlidit duobu
 forul;s auratis sub I'alatini 
.\pollinis basi. 
3 Sat, III. 21 9. 4 G
org. 1\. 
. D
 RlIstica, VIII. 8, l'axilIis adacti. IahuI.1.. superponantur; quæ ,el 
loculamt:nta quibuo nirlificent aves, ,d fictilia columharia, recipiant. 

3 2 



In a second passage he uses the same word for a beehive 1 j 
Vegetius, a writer on veterinary surgery, uses it for the socket 
of a horse's tooth 2 ; and \ïtruvius, in a more general way, for a 
case to contain a small piece of machinery3. Generally, the word 
may be taken to signify a long narrow box, open at one end, 
and, like Ilidlis and fontlus, may be translated "pigeon-hole." 
Seneca, again, applies the word to books in the passage I 
have already translated, and in a singularly instructive manner. 
" You will find," he says, " in the libraries of the most arrant idlers 
all that orators or historians have written-bookcases (foclI/a- 
mellta) built up as high as the ceiling'." 
Pegmata, for the word generally occurs in the plural, are, as 
the name implies, things fixed together, usually planks of wood 
framed into a platform, and used in theatres to carry pieces of 
scenery or performers up and down, ,,\s applied to books 
"shelves" are probably meant: an interpretation borne out by 
the Digcst, in which it is stated that "window-frames and 
pegmata are included in the purchase of a house"." They were 
therefore what we should cal1 "fixtures." 
A p/lItms was a machine used by infantry for protection 
in the field: and hence the word is applied to any fence, or 
boarding to form the limit or edgf' of anything, as a table or 
a bed. Pilitci were not attached so closely to the walls as 
þt'glllata, for in the Digest they are classed with nets to keep 
out birds, mats, awnings, and the like, and are not to be 

1 Ibid., IX. 12. 2. The writer, having described hees swarming, proceeds: 
protinus custos novum loculamentum in hoc præparatum perlinat intrinsecus præ- 
dictis herbis...tum manibus aut etiam trulla congregatas apes recondat, atque... 
diligenter compositum et iIIitum ,'as...patiatur in eodem loco esse dum ad,'e- 
sperascat. Primo deinde crepusculo transferat et reponat in ordiuem reliquarum 
2 Vegetius, Art. Vet., III. 32. Si iumento (oculamenta dentium ,'el dentes 
3 Vitruvius, De Arch., ed. Schneider, x. 9. Insuper autem ad capsum redæ 
loculamentum firmiter figatnr hahens tympanum versatile in cultro collocatum, etc. 
, Dr Sandys, in his edition of Aristotle's C-òllstittttioll tif Athells, 1893, p. '74, 
has shewn th'lt in the office of the public clerk a similar contrivance was used, called 
f7r<CTTíiXwv: "a shelf supporting a series of pigeon-holes, and itself supported by 
wooden pedestals." 
" Ulpian, Digest, 33. 7. 12. In emptionem domus et specularia et pegmata 
cedere solent, sive in æiJificiis sint posita, sive ad tempus detracta. 




regarded as part and parcel of a house l . 
word for a shelf in his second Satire, where 
pretenders to knowledge: 
Indocti primum, quamquam plena omnia gypso 
Chrysippi imeniao;, nam perfectissimus horum est 
Si quis .\ristotelem similem vel Pittacon emit 
Lt iubet archet} pos pluteum servare Cleanthas ". 

Ju,eoal uses the 
he is denouncing 

In the first place they are dunces, though you find their houses full 
of plaster figures of Chrysippus: for a man of this sort is not fully 
equipped until he bu}s a likeness of .\ristotle or PÏttacus, and bids 
a shelf take care of original portraits of Cleanthes. 
This im'estigation has shewn that three of the words applied 
to the preservation of books, namely, Ilidlls, IOYlIllls, and IOClt- 
1ll1JlClltll1Jl, may be rendered by the English" pigeon-hole"; and 
that pcgllla and pllltclIs mean contrivances of wood which may 
be rendered by the English" shelving." It is quite clear that 
pcgmata could be run up with great rapidity, from a very graphic 
account in Cicero's letters of the rearrangement of his library. 
He begins by writing to his friend Atticus as follows: 
I \\ish you ,\ould send me any two fellows out of your library, for 
Tyrannio to make uo;e of as pasters, and assistanto; in other matters. 
Remind them to bring some vellum \\ith them to make tho"e titleo; 
(indices) which you Creeks, I believe, call uíÀÀrßol. You are not to 
do this if it is inconvenient to you 3.... 

In the next letter he says: 

Your men have made mv library gay \\ith their carpentry-work and 
their titles (collstrlldione et sill)'bis). I \\ ish you would commend them
\Yhen all is completed þe writes: 
X ow that Tyrannio has arranged my Looks, a new spirit has been 
infused into my house. In this matter the help of }our men I>ionysius 
and \lenophilus hao; been im'aluahle. ì\othing could look neater than 
those sheh'es of yours (ilia tua l'egllltlta), since they smartened up my 
hooks \\ith their titles". 

1 lloid., 2'). 1. '7. Reticuli circa columna
, plutei circa pariete
, item cilicia, vela, 
.\:rlium non sunt. 
I Sat. I1.
. I do not think that these line
 rder to a library. The \\ hole hon.e. 
not a single room in it, is full of plaster busts of philo
3 E/,. cv. (ed. Billerbeck); Ad Alt. IV. 
, p. 2. 
6 E/,. cvi. (Ibid.); Ad All. IV. !'o. 
E/,. cxi. (iloid.); A,{ Alt. I\'. R. 
c. L. 




[CH \P. 

Xo other words than those I ha,"e been discussing are, so 
far as I know, applied by the best writers to the storage of 
books; and, after a careful study of the passages in which 
they occur, I conclude that. so long as rolls only had to be 
accommodated, IJri,"ate libraries in Rome were fitted with rows 
of sheh'es standing against the walls (p!ltta), or fixed to them 
(pcgmata). The space between these horizontal shelves was 
subdivided by vertical di,'isions into pigeon-hoJcs (nidi, fOYltli, 
!ocu!aIllCllta), and it may be conjectured that the width of these 
pigeon-holes would vary in accordance with the number of rolls 
included in a sing]e work. That such receptacles were the 
common furniture of a library is proved, I think, by such 
evidence as the epigram of l\Iartial quoted above, in which he 
tells his friend that if he will accept his poems, he may "put them 
even in the lowest pigeon-hole (nido ,'e! imo)," as we should say, 
"on the bottom shelf"; and by the language of Seneca when he 
sneers at the" pigeon-holes (!om!a1/lCllta) carried up to the ceiling." 
The height of the woodwork varied, of course, with individual 
taste. In the library on the Esquiline the height was only three 
feet six inches; at Herculaneum about six feet. 
I can find no hint of any doors, or curtains, in front of the 
pigeon-holes. That the ends of the rolls (frontes) were visible, 
is, I think, quite clear from what Cicero says of his own library 
after the construction of his shelves (peg11lata); and the various 
devices for makinf,; rolls attractive seem to me to prove that 
they were intended to be seen. 
A representation of rolls arranged on the system which I 
have attempted to describe, occurs on a piece of sculpture 
(fig. I I) found at Neumagen near Trèves in the seventeenth 
century, among the ruins of a fortified camp attributed to 
Constantine the Great 1 . Two divisions, full of rolls, are shewn, 

. This cut is given in AlltitjuitalulIl et Å1l1W/ÙtlJl Trevire1l,iulIl /ibri xxv. 
Auctoriuus RR. Pl'. Soc. JIo'SU p. Chri_tophoro Bro\\ero, et P. Jacoho ì\Iasenio, 
'2 v. fol. Leodii. 16jo. It is headed: Schlo'ma \oluminum in bibliothecam (sic) ordine 
olim digestorum Xmiomagi in loco Castrorum Constantini 1\1. hodiedum in lapide 
reperto excisum. See also C. G. Schwarz, De OrUalllClltis LibrorlllJl,, Lips, IjS6, 
pp. 86, Ij2, '231, and Tah.II., fig..." I learnt this reference from Sir E. ì\I. Thompson's 
Halldbook of Greek ami Latiu Pal.1:ography, ed. '2, 189.f, p. 5j, 1lote. The Director 
of the :\Iuseum at Trèves informs me that aU the antiquities discO\ered at !\eumagen 
\\ere de'tro}ed in the se\entcenth century. 




from which a man, presumably the librarian, is selecting one. 
The ends of the rolls are furni..,hed with tickets. 













--.... '--L 

Fig. II. A Roman taking down a roll from its place in a library. 

The system of pigeon-holes terminated, in all probability, in 
a cornice. The explorers of Herculaneum depose to the discovery 
of such an ornament there. 
The wall-space above the book-cases was decorated with the 
likenesses of celebrated authors-either philosophers, if the 
owner of the library wished to bring into prominence hi.. 
adhesion to one of the fashionable systems-or authors, dead 
and living, or personal friends. This obvious form of decoration 
was, in all probability, used at Pergamon 1 ; Pollio, as we ha,'e 
seen, introduced it into Rome: and Pliny, who calls it a novelty 
(l1O'i'i/Ù'1Jl Ùl'i.'OltU 1Jl), deposes to its general adoption!. \ V e are 
not told how these portraits were commonly treated-whether 
they were busts standing clear of the wall on the book-cases; 
or bracketed against the wall; or forming part of its decoration, 
in plaster-work or distemper. .-\ suitable inscription accom- 
panied them. I\Iartial has preserved for us a charming specimen 
of one of these complimentary stanzas-for such they un- 
doubtedly would be in the case of a contemporary-to be 
placed beneath his own portrait in a friend's library: 
Hoc tihi sub nostra breve carmen imagine ,i,'at 
Quam non ohscuris iungis, .hite, viris: 

ec aho\c, p. II. 

· /I,i.!., p. 12. 

3 2 

3 6 



Ille ego Slim ill/IIi Ilugarum laude sl'eulldus, 
Quem !WII miraris, sal þulo, lector, am'!s. 
lIIaiores lllaiora SOl/ellt: mild parva lOCI/to 
Suffieit ill vestras sæpe redire lllall1ls' 

Placed, with my betters, on your study-wall 
Let these few lines, Avitus, me recall: 
To foremost ral/k in trifles I was raised,. 
I think 1I10l loved me, thollJ::11 they l/ever praisal. 
Let greater pods greater themes profess: 
lIEy modest lilies seek but tile hand's caress 
That tells me, reader, of thy tenderness. 

The beautiful alto-relievo in the Lateran Museum, Rome, 
representing an actor selecting 
a mask, contains a contrivance 
for reading a roll (fig. 12) which ::"'" 
may have been usual in libraries 
and elsewhere, though I have 
not met with another instance 
of it. A vertical suppurt at- 
tached to the table on which 
two masks and a :MS. are lying, 
carries a desk with a rim along 
its lower edge and one of its 
sides. The roll is partially 
opened, the closed portion lying 
towards the left side of the 
desk, next the rim, The roll 
may be supposed to contain 
the actor's parP. 
It is much to be regretted 
that we have no definite infor- 
mation as to the way in which 
the great public libraries built 
Fig. 12. Desk to support a roll while 
by Augustus were fitted up; but it is being read. 
I see no reason for supposing 
that their fittings differed from those of private libraries. 
vVhen books (codices), of a shape similar to that with which 

1 Epigrams, Lib. IX. Introduction. 
· The whole relief is figured in Seyffert, Ðictionar)' of Classical A ntiq"itÙs, ed. 
Xettleship and Sandys, p. 6+9. 




modern librarians ha\ e to deal, had to be accommodated as 
well as rolls, it is manifest that rectangular spaces not more 
than a few inches wide would be singularly inconvcnient. They 
were thercfore discarded in favour of a press (armarium), a 
picce of furniture \\ hich would hold rolls (,'olumina) as well 
as books (codices), and was in fact, as I shall shew, used for both 
purposes. The word (armarium) occurs commonly in Cicero, 
and other writers of the best period, for a piece of furniturc in 
which valuables of all kinds, and household gear, wcre stowed 
a\\ ay; and \-itruvius l uses it for a book-case. .-\ critic, he says, 
" produced from certain presses an infinite number of rolls." In 
later Latin writers-that is frum the middle of the first century 
A.D.-no other word, speaking generally, occurs. 
Thc jurist Ulpian, who died A.D. 228, in a discussion as to 
\,hat is comprised under the term liber, decides in favour of 
including all rolls ('l!oll/milla) of whate,.er material, and then 
considers the question whether codiæs come under the same 
category or nut-thereby she\\ ing that in his day both forms of 
books were in use. .-\gain, when a library (bib/iv/hem) ha" been 
bequeathed, it is questioned whether the bequest includ<:;s merely 
the press or pre-;ses (armarium 'l'el armaria), or the books as welJ2. 
The Ulpian Library, or rather Libraries, in Trajan's Forum, 
built about I I4 .\.0. 3 , were fitted up with presses, as we learn 
from the passage in Vopiscus which I have already quoted; 
and when the ruins of the section of that library \\ hich stood 
next to the Quirinal Hill were excavated by the French, a 
very intcresting trace of one of these presses was discovered, 
N"ibby, the Roman antiquary, thus describes it. 

I3eyond the above-mentioned bases [of the columns in the portico] 
some remains of the inside of the room became ,isible on the right. 
They consisted of a piece of curtain-wall, admirably constructed of brick, 
part of the side-wall, \\ ith a rcctangular niche of large size in the form 
of a prcss (ill fOKgia di ar11ludio). One ao;cended to this by three steps, 
\, ith a landing-place in front of them, on \\ hich it was possible to st.tnd 
\\ ith ease. On the sides of this niche there still e'\ist traces of 

 Architetlura, Lib. 'II. Pref. [Ari.Ioph:me-] e certis annariis infinita \olu- 
mina eduxit. 
2 Digesta Just;,tialli Augusti, cd. 
Iumm'en. 8vo. Berlin. l!jïo. Yo\. II. p. Sel. 
Boo!" X'\ XII. :;'1. 
· Thi
 is the datc of the Co/z",,,,a cochlis. 
liddleton', Ro",
. II. '14 11<11.. 




the hinges, on which the panels and the wickets, probably of bronze, 
rested I. 

It seems to me that we have here an early instance, perhaps 
the earliest, of those presses in the thickness of the wall which 
were so common afterwards in the monasteries and in pri,'ate 
libraries also. A similar press, on a smaller scale, is described 
by the younger Pliny: "l\ly bedroom." he says, "has a press 
let into the wall which does duty as a library, and holds books 
not merely to be read, but read over and over again 2 ." 
It must not, however, be supposed that cupboards were 
always, or even usually. sunk into the wall in Roman times. 
They were detached pieces of furniture, not unlike the ward- 
robes in which ladies hang their dresses at the present day, 
except that they were fitted with a certain number of horizontal 
shelves, and were used for various purposes according to the 
requirements of their owners. For instance, there is a sarco- 
phagus in the Museo Nazionale at Rome, on which is re- 
presented a shoemaker at work. In front of him is a cupboard, 
exactly like those I am about to describe, on the top of which 
several pairs of shoes are set out. 
1 can, however, produce three representations of such presses 
being used by the Romans to contain books. 
The first occurs on a marble sarcophagus (fig. 13), now in 
the garden of the Villa Balestra, Rome, where I had the good 
fortune to find it in 18983; and Professor Petersen, of the 
German Archaeological School, was so kind as to have it 
photographed for me. He assigns the work to about 200 A.D. 
In the central portion, 21 in. high, by Isi in. wide, is a 
seated figure, reading a roll. In front of him is a cupboard, the 
doors of which are open. It is fitted with two shelves, on the 
uppermost of whICh are eight rolls, the ends of which are turned 
to the spectator. On the next shelf is something which looks 
like a dish or shallow cup. The lower part of the press is solid. 
Perhaps a second cupboard is intended. Above, it is finished 

I Xihby, Noma Antico, 8...0. Roma, [839, p. [88. 
2 Epist. II. [í. 8. Palieti eius [cubiculi mei] in hibliothecæ speciem armarium 
insertum est quod non legend os libros sed lectitandos capito 
3 I should not ha...e known of the existence of this sarcophagus had it not been 
figured, accurately enough on the whole, in Le Palm's de Scallrlls, by l\Iazois, 
published at Par1s in [822. The sarcophagus had passed through Ihe hands of 
se\ eral collectors since 
Iawis figured it, and I had a long and amusing search for it. 

- - - - 
..... \5...., --
I'- ",'r " , 
, çc 
-",,; -, ø, 
7- f-lC 
,... . >-<1- . .. . ,. 

...,,. (0- .
\ ... ..... 
:.-. -" 
, 0, 


Fig. 13. A Roman reading a roll in front of a press (armarzllm). 

/"'''111 a phot"graph of a ,arc('pha(:'lb in the ganlen of the \ïlb Rale-Ira, Rome 




off with a cornice, on which rests a very pualing object. There 
are a few faint lines on the marble, which Professor Petersen 
believes are intended to represent surgical instruments, and so 
to indicate the profession of the seated figure.. There is a Greek 

inscription on the sarcophagus, but it merely warns 
not to disturb the bones of the deceased 2. 
The second representation (fig. 14) is from the 
Galla Placiclia, at Ra- 
venna. It Occurs in a 
mosaic on the wall of 
the chapel in which she 
was buried, A.D. 4493; 
and was presumablyex- 
ecuted before that date. 
The press closely re- 
sembles the one on the 
Roman sarcophagus, but 
it is evidently intended 
to indicate a taller piece 
of furniture, and it ter- 
minates in a pediment. 
There are two shelves, 
on which lie the four 
Gospels, each as a sepa- 
rate codc.r, indicated by 
the name of the Evan- 
gelist above it. This 
press rests upon a stuut 
frame, the legs of which 
are kept in position by 
a cross-piece nearly as 
thick as themselves. 

tom b of 



.... -- 
... ...... ......... 
.; .._
 --:::. --... 
- :.4: =- .

-. - 

.: . _' L.V(ASA 

- , 




Fig. '4. Press containing the four Gospels. 
From a mosaic above the tomb or the Emprcc;.. Galla 
Placidia at R1.vcnna. 

· /llitth
" tit's J;. D. Archat'ologischtlllmtitlils ROlli, 1900, Band '1(\" p. IiI. 
Der Sarkophag eines Arzte... 
2 The in,cription is printed in rull in Alltike /lildc:n,'<rk
 111 ROJII...h,,<dl1; h,," 
VOIl Fridrich /llal::.. .1111" 1-: VOIl Dl1hn, 3 vols., Mvo. Leipzig, 1881, \" o\. II. p. 3.. 6 , 
Ko. 312i&. 
3 Garrucci, AII
 Christialla, "01. 1\. p. .w. It \\ould appear from some curious 
dra\\ ing' on gla,s figured Ly Garrueei, ut supra PI. "90, that the J c\" .h
d l1re--cs of 
,imilar dc,ign in their "ynagogue' to contain thc ",II, "f the Ia \\. 

4 0 


[ CIUP. 

The third representation of an armarium (fig. 15) occurs in 
the manuscript of the Vulgate now in the Laurentian Library 
at Florence, known as the Cod
'x A mia/Ùl1ls, from the Cistercian 
convent of 1\Ionte Amiata in Tuscany, where it was preserved 
for several centuries'. The thorough investigation to which this 
manuscript has lately been subjected shews that it was written in 
England, at \\' earmouth or J arrow, but possibly by an Italian 
scribe, before 
-\.D. 716, in which year it was taken to Rome. as 
a present to the Pope. The first quaternion, however, on one 
of the leaves of which the above representation occurs, is 
probably older; and it may have belonged to a certain Codex 
gralldior mentioned by Cassiodorus, and possibly written under 
his direction 2 . 
The picture (fig. 15), which appears as the frontispiece to 
this work, shews Ezra writing the law. On thc margin of 
the vellum, in a hand which is considered to be later than that 
of the 1\IS., are the words: 
Behind him is a press (armarium) with open doors. The 
lower portion, below these doors, is filled in with panels which 
are either inlaid or painted, so that the frame on which it is 
supported is not visible, as in the Ravenna example. The 
bottom of the press proper is used as a shelf, on which lie a 
volume and two objects, one of which probably represents a 
case for pens, while the other is certainly an inkhorn. Above 
this are four shelves, on each of which lie two volumes. These 
volumes have their titles written on their backs, but they are 
difficult to make out, and my artist has not cared to risk 
mistakes by attempting to reproduce them. The words, begin- 
ning at the left hand corner of the top-shelf, are: 

· The original of this picture is .8 in. high by 9
 in. broad, including the bonier. 
It could not be photographed. and therefore, through the kind offices of :\Iiss C. Dixon, 
and Signor Biagi, Librarian of the Laurentian Library, the services of a thoroughly 
capahle artist, Professor Attilio F ormilli, were secured to make an exact copy in 
water colours. This he has done \\ ilh singular tasle and skill. Illy figure has been 
reduced from this copy. The press has also been figured in outline hy Carrucci, A,-te 
CI,r;stÙma, Vol. III., PI. 126. 
" The romantic story oflhe Codex AlIliatiJllls is fully narrated by Mr II. J. While 
in Stllt/ia Biblim t'! Ecd siastim, !h'u. Oxf. 1890, II. pp. 2i3-308. 



4 1 

OCT. l LIB. 
E\".-\I\G. 1111. 
The frame-work of the press above the doors is ornamented 
in the same style as the panels below, and the whole is sur- 
mounted by a low pyramid, on the side of which facing the 
spcctator is a cross, beneath which are two pedcocks drinking 
from a water-trough. 
I regrct that I could not place this remarkablc drawing 
before my redders in the rich colouring of the original. The 
press is of a reddish brown: the books are bound in crimson. 
Ezra is clad in green, with a crimson robe. The background is 
gold. The border is bluc, between an inner and outer band of 
sih'er. The outermost band of all i-; vermilion. 
I formerly thought that this book-press might represent 
those in use in England at thc bcginning of the eighth ccntury ; 
but, if thc above attribution to Cassiodorus be accurate, it must 
be accounted another Italian exam pIc. It bears a general simi- 
larity to thc Ra,.cnna book-press, as might be expccted, when 
it is remembered that Cassiodorus held office undcr Theodoric 
and his successors, and resided at Ra\'enna till he was nearly 
seventy years old. 
The foundation of Christianity did not alter what I may 
call the Roman conception of a library in any essential 
particular. The philosophers and authors of Greece and 
Rome may have occasionally found themselves in company 
with, or even supplanted by, thc doctors of the Church; but 
in other respects, for the first seven centuries, at least, of our 
cra, the Icarned furnished their libraries according to the old 
fashion, though with an ever increasing luxury of material. 
Boethius, whose Cm/solatioll of Philos{lphy was written .l.D. 525, 
makes Phtlosophy speak of the "walls of a library adorned with 
ivory and glass Sn ; and Isidorc, Bishop of Scville .-\,1>. 600-636, 


I'S.-\L)1. !.IE. 


1 The Octa/ltch, or, the five boo\". of M()
c', __ith the addition of Joshua, Judge,. 
and Ruth. 
2 Consol. Philosoplz., Book I. Ch. f,. :oJec l>ibliolhec\: poliu, compto. ehon" ac 
\ itro parictc' quam tu." ment;, 
e(l"m rC<juiro. 

4 2 



records that .. the best architects object to gilded ceilings in 
libraries, and to any other marble than ClþollÙlo for the floor, 
because the glitter of gold is hurtful to the eyes, \\ hile the green 
of Clþo/lino is restful to them I." 
A few examples of such libraries may be cited; but, before 
doing so, I must mention the Record-Office (Archi"llm), erected 
by Pope Damasus (366-384). It was connected with the Basilica 
of S. Lawrence, which Damasus built in the Campus l\Iartius, 
near the theatre of Pompey. On the front of the Basilica, over 
the main entrance, was an inscription, which ended with the three 
following lines: 


I confess that I have \\ ished to build a new abode for Archives; 
and to add columns on the right and left to preserve the name of 
Damasus for ever. 

These enigmatical verses contain all that we know, or are 
ever likely to know, respecting this building, which is called 
charlarÙwl eccksiæ Romanæ by S. J erome 2 , and unquestionably 
held the official documents of the Latin Church until they were 
removed to the Lateran in the seventh century. The whole 
building, or group of buildings, was destroyed in 1486 by 
Cardinal Raphael Riario, the dissolute nephew of Sixtus IV., 
to make room for his new palace, now called Palazzo della 
Cancelleria, and the church was rebuilt on a new site. The 
connexion with Pope Damasus is maintained by the name, 
S. Lorenzo in Damaso. No plan of the old buildings, or 
contemporary record of their arrangement, appears to exist. 
My only reason for drawing attention to a structure which has 
no real connexion with my subject is that the illustrious De 
Rossi considers that in the second line of the above quotation 
the word column signifies colonnades; and that Damasus took 
as his model one of the great pagan libraries of Rome which, in 

1 Origilles, Book" I. Ch. ii. Cum peritiores architecti n"que aurea lacunaria 
ponenda in biLliothecis putent neque pavimenta alia quam a Car}'steo marmore, quod 
auri fulgor hebetat et Carystei viriditas reficiat oculos. 

 Apol. adv. Rlljilllll/l, ii. 20: Opera. et!. \'allar,i, II. 5..<;. 




its turn, had been derived from the typical library at Pergamon I. 
.-\ccording to this view he began by building, in the centre of 
the area selecteù, a basilica, or hall of basilican type, dedicated 
to S. La" rence; and then added, on the north and south sides, 
a colonnade or loggia from which the rooms occupied by the 
records would be readily accessible. This opinion is also held 
by Signor Lanciani, \\ ho follows De Rossi without hesitation. 
I am unwilling to accept a theory \\ hich seems to me to have 
no facts to support it; and find it safer to believe that the line 
in question refers either to the aisles of the basilica, or to such a 
portico in front of it as may be seen at San Clemente and other 
early churches. 
.-\ letter to Eucherius, Bishop of Lyons in A.D. 441, from 
a correspondent nameù Rusticus, gives a charming picture of 
a library which he had visited in his young days, say about 
A.n. 400: 

I am reminded uf \, I read }cars ago, ha
tily, as a boy does, in 
the library of a man who \\J.S learned in seculJ.r literature. There \\ere 
there portraits of OrJ.lOrs and also of Poets worked in mo
aic, or in wa\. 
of different colours, or in plaster, and under each the master of the 
house had placed inscriptions noting their charJ.cteristics; but, \\hen he 
came to a puet of acknowlcdged merit, a<; for instance, \ïrgil, he began 
a<; follo\\ s : 

\'irgilium vat em mdius sua carmina laudant ; 
In freta dum fluvii current, dum montibu, umhræ 
Lu,trabunt convexa, polus dnm ,idera pasceI, 
Semper honos nomenque tuum laude
que manehunt. 

\ïrgil's 0\\ n lines mo
t fitly \ïrgil praise: 
As long as rivers run into the deep, 
.\s long as shadows o'er the hill<;ide sweep, 
.h long as stars in heaven's fair pa!>tures graLl', 
So long shall live your honour, name, and praise 2 . 

1 De Origilu Hisloria b,d,âh"s so'i"ii el hihliolheaz Set/is Afostolico cOlllllle"I,llio 
loallllis BaptisltP de Rossi.... Rum.c, IHHfi, Chapter '.. A brief, but accurate, 
,ummary of hi
 account "ill be fonnd in I anciani's A 'lCie,,1 ROllle, Hvo. 1 HHH, 
pp. 18j-190. Father C. J. Ehrle ha
 given me much help on Ihis difficult que,liun. 
· Sid.,,,ii Apo//;'larÙ Opera, ed. Sirmondi. I'ari
, 16
1. XoIe_, p. 33. The 
words of thi
 letter, "hich I have tran_lated very freely, art: as follow
Sed dum hæc tacitus mecum revolvo, occurrit mihi 'Iuncl in Hihhotheca _tu,liosi 
s ccularium litterarum pUt:r quondam, uI ..e ætatj_ iIIiu, curio
itas hahet, prætereundo 
am cum _upra memoratæ ædis onlinator ac dominu
. inter exprcs_as 
lapilli_ aut ceri_ di'culorilm
. f""n.lla-'Iuc eni!:ie- ,cI Oraturum ,d t:liam I'octanlm 




Agapetus, who was chosen Pope in 535, and lived for barely 
a year, had intended, in conjunction with Cassiodorus, to found 
a college for teachers of Christian doctrine. He selected for 
this purpose a house on the Cælian Hill, afterwards occupied 
by S. Gregory, and by him turned into a monastery. Agapetus 
had made some progress with the scheme, so far as the library 
attached to the house was concerned, for the author of the 
Einsiedlen 1\IS., who visited Rome in the ninth century, saw 
the following inscription" in the library of S. Gregory "-i.e. 
in the library attached to the Church of San Gregorio Magno. 
Here sits in long array a reverend troop 
Teaching the mystic truths of law divine: 
'l\Iid these by right takes Agapetus place 
""ho built to guard his books this fair abode. 
All toil alike, all equal grace enjoy- 
Their woreIs are different, but their faith the same. 
These lines unduubtedly imply that there was on the walls 
a long series of portraits of the Fathers of the Church, including 
that of Agapetus himself, who had won his right to a place 
among them by building a sumptuous home for their works). 
The design of Agapetus, interrupted by death, was carried 
forward by his friend Cassiodorus, at a place in South Italy 
called Vivarium, near his own native town Squillace. Shortly 
after his final retirement from court, A.D. 538, Cassiodorus 
established there a brotherhood, which, for a time at least, 
must have been a formidable rival to that of S. Benedict. 
A library held a prominent place in his conception of what 

specialia singulorum autotypis epigrammata subdidisset; ubi ad præiuclicati eloquii 
venit poetam, hoc modo orsus est. 
The la
t three lines of the inscription are from the ÆllÛd, Book I. 607. I owe 
the most important part of the translation of Rusticus to Lal1ciani, tit SIIpla, p. 196: 
that of Virgil is by Professor Conington. 
) I have taken the text of the inscription, and my account of Agapetus and his 
'"ork, from De Rossi, tit suþra, Chap. \"II. p. h.. 




was needed for their common life. He says little about its 
size or composition, but much rhetoric is expended on the 
contrivances by which its usefulness and attractiveness were 
to be increased. A staff of bookbinders was to clothe the 
manuscripts in decorous attire; self-supplying lamps \\ ere to 
light nocturnal workers; sundials by day, and water-clocks by 
night, enabled them to regulate their hours. Here also was a 
scriptoriu11l, and it appears probable that between the exertions 
of Cassiodorus and his friend Eugippius, South I taly was well 
supplied with manuscripts 1. 
These attempts to snatch from oblivion libraries which, 
though probably according to our ideas insignificant. \\ ere 
centres of culture in the darkest of dark ages, will be illustrated 
by the fuller information that has come do\\ n to us respecting 
the library of Isidore, Bishop of Se\ ille 600-636. The" verses 
composed by himself for his 0\\ n presses," to quote the oldest 
manuscript containing them', have been presen-ed, with the 
names of the writers under whose portraits they were inscribed. 
There were fourteen pres,;cs. arranged as follows: 
I. Origen. \1 I I. l'rudentius. 
II. Hilary. IX. ,hitus, ]uvencus, 5edulius. 
II I. Ambrose. X. Lusebius, Orosiw,. 
1\'. .\ugustine. XI. (;regory. 
\- Jerome. XII. I cander. 
\1. Chryso
tom. XIII. Theodosius. Paulus, (;aius. 
\11. Cyprian. '\:1\'. Cosmas, D.lmian, Hippocrates, Galen. 
These writers are probably those whom Isidore specially 
admired, or had some particular reason for commemorating. 
The first seven are obvious types of theologians, and the presses 
over which thcy prt'sided were doubtless filled not merely \\ ith 
their o\\'n works, but with bibles. commentaries, and works 
on Divinity in general. Eusebius and Orosius are types of 
ecclesiastical hi,torians; Theodosius, Paulus, and Gaius, of 
jurists; Cosmas, Damian, etc. of physicians. But the Christian 
poet,> Prudentius to Sedulius could hardly have needed t\\O 
presses to contain their works: nor Gregory the Great the 
whole of one. La"tly. Leander, I..idore's cider brother, could 
1 Ca.
siodorus, D
 blSt. Div. Litt. Chap. x'\ x. pp. 114;:, ..fí. Ed. 1\Iignc. 
De Ro\si, tit stl/ro. 
2 \'ersus qui scripti sun! in armaria ,ua ah il"o [Isi<lnro] compo,iti. Cod. 
". I xi;, a 
IS. "hich came from I orch in (;ermany. lie }{""i. tit 5II/"a, Chap. \ II. 




only owe his place in the series to fraternal affection. I con- 
jecture that these portraits were simply commemorative; and 
that the presses beneath them containcù the books on subjects 
not suggested by the rest of the portraits, as for example, secular 
literature, in which Isidore was a proficient. 
The sets of \'erses l begin with three elegiac couplets headed 
Tilulus Bibliolhcce, probably placed over the door of entrance. 
Sunt hic plura sacra, sunt hic mundalia plura: 
Ex his si qua placent carmina, tolle, lege. 
Prata \-ides, plena spinis, et ropia florum; 
Si non vis spinas sumere, sUme rosas. 
Hic geminæ radiant veneranda ,"olumina legis; 
Condita sunt pariter hic nova cum veteri. 
Here sacred books with worldly hooks combine; 
If poets please you, read them: they are thine. 
l\I y meads are full of thorns, but flowers are there; 
If thorns displease, let roses be your share. 
Here both the Laws in tomes revered behold; 
Here \vhat is ne\\. is stored, and \vhat is old. 

The authors selected are disposed of either in a single 
couplet, or in several couplets, according to the writer's taste. 
I will quote the lines on S. Augustine: 
:\[entitur qui [te] totum legisse fatetur: 
An quis cuncta tua lector habere pot est ? 
Namque voluminibus mille, Augustine, refulges, 
Testantur libri, quod loquor ipse, tui. 
Quamvis multorum placeat prudentia libris, 
Si Augustinus ad est, sufficit ipse tibi. 
They lie \\ ho to have read thee through profess; 
Could any reader all thy works possess? 
.\ thousand scrolls thy ample gifts display j 
Thy own books prove, Augustine, what I say. 
Though other writers charm with varied lore, 
\\'ho hath Augustine need have nothing more. 
The series concludes with some lines" To an Intruder (ad bile/'- 
velllorclll)," the last couplet of which is too good to be omitted: 
Non patitur quenquam coram se scriha loquentcm; 
Non est hic quod agas, garrule, perge foras. 
.\ writer and a talker can't agree: 
Hence, idle chatterer; 'tis no place for thee. 

1 hid,,,.i OJ,,,,, Omlli", ..10. Rome, I R03. "oI. \. I. p. I i9. 

- - 
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\Vith these three examples I conclude the section of my 
work which deals with what may be called the pagan conception 
of a library in the fulness of its later development. Unfor- 
tunately, no enthusiast of those distant times has handed down 
to us a complete description of his library, and" e are obliged 
to take a detail from one account, and a detail from another, 
and so piece the picture together for ourselves. \\'hat I may 
call .. the pigeon-hole system," suitable for rolls only, was re- 
placed by presses which could contain rolls if required, and 
certainly did (as shewn (fig. 13) on the sarcophagus of the \Illa 
Balestra), but which were specially designed for codices. These 
presses were sometimes plain, sometimes richly ornamented, 
according to the taste or the means of the owner. \\ïth the 
same limitations the floor, the walls, and possibly the roof also 
were decorated. Further, it was evidently intended that the 
room selected for books should be used for no other purpose; 
and, as the books were hidden from view in their presses, the 
library-note, if I may be allowed the expression, was struck by 
numerous inscriptions, and by portraits in various materials, 
representing either authors whose works were on the shelves, 
or men distinguished in other ways, or friends and relations of 
the owner of the house. 
The Roman conception of a library was realised by Pope 
Sixtus V., in 15 8 7\ when the present Yatican Library was com- 
menced from the design of the architect Fontana. I am not 
aware that there is any contemporary record to prove that either 
the Pope or his advisers contemplated this direct imitation; 
but it is evident, from the most cursory inspection of the large 
room (fig. 16), that the main features of a Roman library are 
before us s ; and perhaps, having regard to the tendency of the 
Renaissance, especially in Italy, it would be unreasonable to 
expect a different design in such a place, and at such a period. 
This noble hall-probably the most splendid apartment ever 
assigned to library-purposes-spans the Corti Ie del Belvedere 

I See lien. Ste\en
on, Topograjia e .lllJIllImmti di /loma nel/e Plttllre a fns
o tli 
Sisto V. del/a Ribliote,a Vati
dll". p. i; in AI SOIl/II/O r.'"t'1i
e Leo"," XIII. Oll/aggio 
Gillhilan tlel/'I Bihlioteca lãti
Qlla, Fol. Rome, I!:\

 Sib'nor Lanciani (And,'lIt ROII/e, p. I'J
) "as the fir,t to ,ugge
t a cnml'arhon 
hd\\Len the Yatican Lihrar) ,mil Ih.he of ancient ){ome. 

4 R 


[cn -\P. 

from east to west, and is entered at each end from the galleries 
connecting the Belvedere with the Vatican palace. It is 184 feet 
long, and 57 feet wide, divided into two by six piers, on which 
rest simple quadripartite vaults. The north and south walls are 
each pierced with Seven large windows. No books are visible. 
They are contained in plain wooden presses 7 feet high and 
2 feet deep. set round the piers, and against the walls between 
the windows. The arrangcment of these presses will be under- 
stood from the general vicw (fig. 16), and from the view of a 
single press open (fig. 17). 
In the decoration, with which e....ery portion of the walls and 
vaults is covercd, Roman mcthods are rcproduced, but with a 
difference. The great writers of antiquity are conspicuous by 
their absence; but the developmcnt of the human race is 
commemorated by the presence of those to whom the invention 
of letters is traditionally ascribed; the walls are covered with 
frescoes representing the foundation of the great libraries which 
instructed the world, and the assemblics of the Councils which 
cstablished the Church; the \'aults record the bcnefits conferred 
on Rome by Sixtus V., in a series of historical views, one above 
each window; and over these again are stately figùres, each 
embodying some sacred abstraction-" Thrones, domination.., 
princedoms, virtues. powcrs "-with angels swinging censers, and 
graceful nymphs, and laughing satyrs-a strange combination 
of paganism and Christianity-amid wrcaths of flowers, and 
arabesques twining round the groups and over every vacant 
space, partly framing, partly hiding, the heraldic devices which 
commemorate Sixtus and his family:-a web of lovely forms 
and brilliant colours, combincd in an intricate and yet orderly 
It may be questioned whether such a room as this was evcr 
intended for study. The marble floor, the gorgeous decoration, 
the absence of all appliances for work in the shape of desks, 
tables, chairs, suggest a place for show rather than for use. The 
great libraries of the Augustan age, on the other hand, seem, so 
far as we can judge, to have becn used as meeting-places and 
reading-rooms for learned and unlearned alike. In gcneral 
arrangement and appearance., the Vatican Library must 
dosely rescmble its impcrial predecessors. 

1 - 

------ - - -- 


--= - 



J j 



I - 

, - 
"::::;"j ,.. J- '. 


:.; t 
!l t 


= ...........



Fig. r7. A single press in rhe Vatican Library. open. 
I'rom a photog-r:\ph. 

I. APr.] 





TilE system of decoration carried out in this Library, of 
which I ha\'e just given a summary description, is so interesting, 
and bears evidence of so much care and thought, that 1 subjoin 
a detailed account of it, which, by the kindness of Father Ehrle, 
prefect of the Library, I was enabled to draw up during my late 
visits to Rome. The diagrammatic ground-plan (fig. 18) which 
accompanies this description, if studied in conjunction with the 
general view (fig. 16), will make the relation of the subjects 
to each other perfectly clear. The visitor is supposed to enter 
the Library from the vestibule at the east end: and the nota- 
tion of the piers, windows, wall-frescoes, etc., begins from the 
same end. Further, the visitor is supposed to examine the east 
face of each pier first, and then to turn to the left. 
I will begin with the figures on the central piers and half- 
piers. These figures are painted in fresco, of heroic size: and 
over their heads are the letters which they are supposed to have 


A tall stal",art figure dre
sed in short chiton. lIe holds an apple in his 
left hand, and a mattock in hi. right. 
Adam divinitus edoctus primus scientiarum eI litteraruIll invenIor. 


Ahraham Syra5 et Chaldaicas litteras in venit. 

Filii Seth eulumnis duabus rerum eælestium disciplinam inscrihunt. 

c. L. 



(c) ESDRAS. 
Esdras novas Hebraeorum litteras invenit. 

(á) MOSES. 
l\Ioyses antiquas Hebraicas litteras invenit. 

On the cornice of the presses round this pier are the 
following inscriptions: 
(a) Doctrina bona dabit gratiam. Provo xiii. If-. 
(b) Yolo vos sapientes esse in bono. Rom. xvi. 19. 
(e) Impius ignorat scientiam. Provo xxix. j. 
(d) Cor sapientis quærit doctrinam. Provo xv. If. 


l\Iercurius Thovt .-Egyptiis sacras litteras conscripsit. 

(b) ISIS. 
Isis regina Ægyptiarum litterarum inventrix. 

(c) MENON. 
l\Ienon Phoraneo æqualis litteras in Ægypto in venit. 

Hercules ægyptius Phrygias Iitteras invenit. 

On the cornice of the presses: 
(a) Recedere a malo intelligentia. Job xxviii. 28. 
(b) Timere Deum ipsa est sapientia. Job xxviii. 22. 
(e) Faciendi plures libras nullus est finis. EccI. xii. 12. 
(d) Dat scientiam intelligentibus disciplinam. Dan. xi. 12. 


Phoenix litteras Phoenicibus tradidit. 

Cecraps Diphyes primus Atheniensium rex Græcarum litterarum auctor. 
(c) LINUS. 
Linus Thebanus litterarum Græcarum inventor. 

(á) CAD:\1US. 
Cadmus Phænicis Crater litteras XVI in Græciam intulit. 



cornice of the presses: 
In malevolam animam non introibit sapientia. Sap. i. f. 
Habentes soIatio sanctos libros. I l\Iach. xii. 9. 
Cor rectum inquirit scientiam. Provo xxvii. 12. 
Sapientiam qui abiicit inCelix est. Sap. iii. If. 



(a) PVTHAGOR-\5. 
Pythagoras. Y . litteram ad humanæ vitæ exemplum invenit. 

Palamedes bello Troiano Græcis littens quattuor adiecit. 

Simonides Melicus quattuor Græcarum litterarum inventor. 

Epichannus Siculus duas Gn
cas addidit litteras. 

On the cornice of the presses: 
(a) Qui evitat discere incidet in mala. Provo vii. 16. 
on glonetur sapiens in sapientia sua. Ier. ix. 23, 
(e) Si quis indiget sapientia postulet a Deo. lac. i. 1:-. 
(d) Melior esI sapientia cunctis pretiosissimi
. Provo viii. II. 


Evander Carment. F . aborigines litteras docuit. 


icostrata Carmenta latinarum liuerarum inventrix. 

Demaratus Corinthius etruscarum liUerarum auctor. 

Claudius imperator tres novas liUeras adinvenit. 

On the cornice of the presses: 
on erudietur qui non e
I sapiens in bono. Ecc1. xxi. 2+. 
(6) \ïri intelligentes loquantur mihi. lac. xxxiv. 3+. 
on penbit consilium a sapienti. Ier. xviii. 18. 
(d) Sapientiam atque doctrinam stulIi despiciunt. Provo i. 17. 


S. 10. Chrysostomus liuerarum Armenic:uum auctor. 

(b) VLPHlL'lS. 
Ylphilas Epl"Copus Gothomm liUeras imenit. 

4- 2 




(c) CYRIL. 
S. Cyrillus aliarum IIIyricarum litterarum auctor. 

(d) JEROME. 
S. Hieronymus litterarum IIIyricarum inventor. 

On the cornice of the presses: 

(a) Scientia inflat charitas vero ædificat. 

Cor. viii. I. 

Sapere ad sobrietatem. Rom. xii. 3. 
Vir sapiens fortis et vir doctus robust us. 

Provo xxiv. 5. 

Ubi non est scientia animæ non est bonum. Provo xix. 2. 



Our Lord is seated. Over His Head A, n; in His Hand an open book: 
Ego sum A et n; principium et finis. At I lis Feet: le
us Christus 
summus magister, cælestis doctrinæ auctor. 

On Christ's right hand is a POPE, standing, with triple cross 
and tiara. 

Christi Domini vicarius. 

On Christ's left hand is an EMPEROR, also standing. with 
crown, sword, b]ue mantle. 

Ecc\esiæ defensor. 

I will now pass to the decoration of the walls. On the 
south wall, between the windows, are representations of famous 
libraries; on the north wall, of the eight general Councils of the 
Church. Each space is ornamented with a broad border, like 
a picture-frame. In the centre abO\ie is the general title of the 
subject or subjects below: e.g. Bibliothcca ROlllflllOYltlll; and 
beneath each picture is an inscription describing the special 
subject. Above each window, on the vault, is a large picture, 
to commemorate the benefits conferred by Sixtus V. on Rome 
and on the world. I will describe the libraries first, beginning 
as before at the east end of the room. 



(Right of Entrance.) 

Sixtus V. Pont. :'Ii. Bibliothecæ \'aticanæ aedificationem prescribit. 

The Pope is seated. Fontana, a pair of compasses in his right 
hand, is on one knee, exhibiting the plan of the intended library. 


(Left of Entrance.) 

:\Ioyses librum legis Le\ it is in tabemaculo reponendum tradit. 

'loses hands a large folio to a Levite, behind whom more I evites 
are standing. Soldiers, etc., stand behind :\loses. Tents in hack- 


(On first wall-space south side.) 

Esdras sacerdos d scriba Bibliothecam sacram restituit. 

Ezra, attired in a costume that is almost Roman, stands in the 
centre of the picture, his back half turned to the spectator. An 
official is pointing to a press full of books. Porters are bringing in 


(Two pictures.) 

(a) The education of Daniel in Babylon. 

Daniel et socii linguam scientiamque Chaldæorum ediscunI. 

Daniel and other young men are \\ riting and reading at a table on 
the right of the picture. A group of elderly men in front of them to the 
left. Behind these is a lofty chair and desk, beneath which is a table 
at \\hich a group of boys are reading and \\Titing. In the background 
a set of book-shelves with a desk, quite modern in style. 


(b) The search for the decree of Cyrus. 
Cyri decretum ùe templi restauratione Darii iu_su perquiritur. 

Darius, crowned, his back half turned to the spectator, is giVing 
orders to several young men, who are taking books out of an armarium 
-evidently copied from one of the Vatican book-cupboards. 

(Two pictures.) 
(a) Pisistratus arranges a library at Athens. 
Pisistratus primus apud Græcos publicam bihliuthecam instituit. 
Pisistratus, in armour, over which is a blue mantle, is giving orders to 
an old man who kneels before him, holding an open book. Behind the 
old man attendants are placing books on desks-others are reading. .. 
Behind Pisistratus is a group of officers, and behind them again a book- 
press without doors, and a row of open books on the top. 

(b) Restoration of the library by SeleuClis. 

Selel1cus bibliothecam a Xerxe asportatam referenùam curat. 

Servants are bringing in books which are being hastily packed into 
cases. In the hackground is seen the sea, with a ship; and the door 
of the palace. A picture full of life and movement. 

(Two pictures.) 

(a) Ptolemy orgam'ses the library at Alexandria. 
Ptolemæus ingenti bibliotheca instructa I1ebreorum libros concupiscit. 

Ptolemy, a dignified figure in a royal habit, stands in the centre. 
He is addressing an elderly man who stands on his right. Behind him 
are three porches, within which are seen desks and readers. In the 
central porch are closed presses, with rows of folios on the top. Below 
arc desks, at which readers are seated, their backs turned to the 

(b) The SeVe1lty Tra1ISlators bring t/leir worR to Ptolemy. 
LXXII interpretes ab Eleazaro sacros librus Ptolemæo reùùunt. 

Ptolemy is seated on a throne to right of spectator with courtiers on 
his right and left. The messengers kneel before him, and hand him 




(a) Tarquin receives the Sibylline BooRs. 
Tarquinius Superbus Iibros Sibyllinos tres aliis a muliere incensis tantidem 

Tarquin, seated in the centre of the picture, receives three volumes 
from an aged and dignified woman. In front a lighted brazier in which 
the other books are burning. 

(b) Augustus opens the Palatine library. 
Augustus Cæs. Palatina Bibliotheca magnifice ornata viros liUeratos rovet. 
Augustus, in armour, with imperial mantle, crown and sceptre, stands 
left of centre. An old man seated at his feet is writing from his dictation. 
Left of the Emperor are five desks; with five closed books lying on the 
top of each. These desks are very probably intended to represent those 
of the Vatican Library as arranged by Sixtus IV. Two men, crowned 
with laurel, are standing behind the last desk, conversing. Behind them 
again is a book-case of three shelves between a pair of columns. 
Books are lying on their sides on these shelves. Beneath the shelves 
is a desk, with books open upon it, and others on their sides 
beneath it. 


Akmnder, Bishop alld AIartyr, collects a library at fi'rusalelll. 
S. Alexander Episc. et !\lart. Decio Imp. in magna temporum acerbitate 
sacrorum scriptorum libros Hierosolymis congregat. 

A picture full of movement, occupying the whole space between two 
windows. The saint is in the centre of the picture, seated. Young 
men are bringing in the books, and placing them on shelves. 


Pamphi/us, Pnest alid A/artyr, collects a library at Cæsarea. 
S. Pamphilus l'resb. et !\lart. admirandæ sanctitatis et doctrinæ Cæsareæ 

acram bibliothecam conficit multos libros 
ua manu describit. 

l'amphilus, in centre of picture, is giving orders to porters who are 
bringing in a basket of books. On his left a large table at which a 
scribe is writing. S. Jerome, seated in right corner of picture, is 
apparently dictating to the scribe. Behind them is a large book-case 
on the shelves of which books lie on their sides; others arc being laid 
on the top by a man standing on a ladder. In the left of the picture is 
a table covered with a green cloth, on which book-binders are at work. 
In front of this table a carpenter is preparing boards. In background, 
seen through a large window, is a view of Cæ:.are.l. 




S. Peter orders the safe-kæpÙzg of books. 
S. Petrus sacrorum libwrum thesaurum in Romana ecc\esia perpetuo 
asservari jubet. 

S. Peter is standing before an altar on which are books and a cross. 
In front doctors are writing at a low table. 
[A small picture between window and west wall] 


The successors if S. Peler carryon the library-tradi/Ùm. 
Romani pontifices apostolicam bibliothecam magno studio amplificant 
atque illustrant. 
A pope, his left hand resting on a book, is earnestly conversing with 
a cardinal, whose back is half turned to the spectator. Another pope, 
with three aged men, in background. 
[A small picture on west wall.] 

\\'e wiII now return to the east end of the room, and take 
the representations of Councils, painted on the east and north 
walls, in chronological order. 

(On east wall.) 

The first COUIlCit held at Nicæa, A.D. 325. 
S. Silvestro pr. Constantino Mag. imp. Christus dei Filius patri con- 
suhstantialis dec\aratur Arii impietas condemnatur. 

The bumillg if the books if ArÙts. 
Ex decreto concilii Constantinus Imp. libros Arianorum comburi iubet. 


The first Coullcil held at COllstalltÙlOple, A.D, 
S. Damaso PP. et Theodo
io sen, imp. Spiritus Sancti divinitas pro- 
pugnatur nefaria :\Iacedonii h.eresis extinguitur. 




The CO/lncil held at EpheslIs, A.D. 431. 
S. Cælestino PI'. et Theoùo
io Jun. Imp. t\'estorius Christum diviùens 
ùamnatur, B. Maria Virgo dei genetrix prædicatur. 


The COlt1lcil held at Cha/cedo1l, A.D. 45 I. 
S. Leone magno PP. et l\Iarciano Imp. infelix Eutyches vnam tantum 
in post incarnationem naturam a


The seco1ld Cou1lcil held at COllstantinople, A.D. 553. 
Vigilio Papa et Iu,tiniano Imp. contentiones de tribus capnibus seùantur 
Origcnis CHores refelluntur. 


The third COIt1lcil held at COllstanti1lople, A.D. 680. 
s. Agathone Papa Con
tantino pogonato Imp. munothelitæ h.eretici 
\nam tantum in Christo voluntatcm docentes exploduntur. 


The second Council held at M'cæa, A.D. 7 8 7. 

lIadriano papa Constantino Irenes F. imp. impii iconomachi reiiciuntur 
,acrarum imaginum veneratio confirmatur. 

Ul\I IV. 

The fourth Council held at COllstantÍ1lOple, A.D. 86 9. 
Hadriano papa et Basilio imp. S. Ignatius patriarch a Constant. in suam 
sedem pub" I'hotiu restituitur. 

The burlllilg of the books of PhotÍ/ts. 

I', dccrt:to concilii Ba,ililh Imp. chirographa Photii et conciliab. acta 
comhuri iuhct. 



In conclusion I will enumerate the series of eighteen large 
pictures on the side-walls and in the lunettes at each end of 
the room, representing, with some few exceptions, the benefits 
conferred on Rome by Sixtus. The most important of these 
pictures are above the windows (fig. 16), of which there are seven 
on each side-wall. A Latin couplet above the picture records 
the subject, and allegorical figures of heroic size, one on each side, 
further indicate the idea which it is intended to convey. 
The series begins at the east end of the room, over the door. 

I. Procession of Sixtus to his coronation. 

Hie tria Sixte tuo eapiti diademata dantur 
Sed quantum in eælis te diadema manet. 

On the left of this, over the First Nicene Council, is 

I I. COr{IJflltioll of Sixl1fs, with façade of old S. Peters. 
Ad templum antipodes Sixlum eomitantur euntem 
Jamque novus Pastor paseit ovile novum. 

With the following picture the series on the south wall begins, 
above the windows: 

II I. An allegorical tableau. A lion with a Iwman face, and a thullder- 
bolt ill Ilis rigllt þaw, stallds Oil a green hill. A flock of sllæþ is 
feedillg around. 
Alcides partem Italiæ prædone redemit 
Sed tolam Sixtus: die mihi major utero 

IV. The obelisk in front of old S. Peter's. The dome 1.isÍ1lg be/lind. 
Dum stabit mOlus nullis ObeIiseus ab Euris 
Sixte tuum 
tabit nomen hono
que tuus. 

V. All all<',f{oriml tableau. A tree loaded willl fruits, uþ whicll a 
lion is trying to climb. A flock of sheeþ bmeath. 
Temporibus Sixti redeunt Saturnia regna 
Et pleno cornu eopla fundit opes. 



VI. A Columna Codzlis surmounted by a statue. 
Vt vinclis Ienuit Petrum sic alta columna 
SusIinet; hinc decu
 est dcdecus unde fuit. 

\' II. A crowd assembled Ùl fr01lt of a dlUrch. 

Sixtus regnum inieus indicit publica vota 
Ponderis 0 quanJi vota fuisse vides. 

\ Ill. The Laterall Palace, with the Baþtistery and Obelisk. 
Quintus restiIuit Laterana palatia Sixtu
Atque obelum medias Iranstulit ante forns. 

I X. A fountain ereckd by Sixtus. 
Fons felix celebri notus super æthera versu 
Romulea passim jugis in urhe fuit. 

The next two pictures are ahove the arches leading from the 
west end of the library into the corridor: 

X. Pallorama of Rome as altaed by Sixtlts. 
Dum rectas ad templa vias sanctissima pandit 
Ipse sibi Sixtus paudit ad astra viam. 

XI. All allegorical reþreselltatiOlI of the Tiara, with adorilll{ worshiþþers. 

\ïrgo intacta manet nee vivit adultera conjux 
Casta'lue nunc Roma est quæ fuit ante salax. 

With the following picture the series on the north wall 

:hI I. See/ioll of S. Peters, 'with /Ill' dOllle. 
Virginis absistit mirari templa Dianæ 
Qui fanum hoc inIrat Virgo :\Iaria tuum. 

XIII. The Obelisk in the Cin'us of Nero. 

:\Iaximus e"t uhelus circus quem maximus olim 
Condidit et Sixhh maximus inde trahit. 


XIV. Tile Tiber, willI the Ponte Sisto, and the Osþedale di Santo Spirito. 

Quæris cur tot a non sit mendicus in U rbe: 
Tecta parat Sixtus suppeditatque cibos. 

XV. A similar 

Jure Antoninum paulo "is Sixte subesse 
Nam vere hie pius est impius ille pius. 

XVI. A similar view, with /lIe Obelisk. 
Transfers Sixte pium transferre an dignior alter 
Transferri an vero dignior alter erat. 

XV I I. The Obelisk, now in front of S. Peler's, before it was rt'mO'lwl. 

Qui Regum 
Ad eunas 

tumulis obdiseus serviit olim 
Christi tu pie Sixte loeas. 

XVIII. A fleet at sea. 

Instruit hie Sixtus classes quibus æquora purget 
Et Solymos victos sub sua jura trahat. 

Burning of the 
books of Arius 

First Council of 

Council of 

Council of 

Second Council 

Third Council of 
Constant! nople 

Second Council 
of Nicaen 

Ii,dus V Moses & 
;;Sl C
uncil 01 Nica1=
,fonIanf IE It.. Le\ilçs 
, I 8 I II .. 
II: Adam III 
: Hebræa 
! --t- 
---------- ----!':.------So'. 9"------ 
Moses d0b Sons 01 SeIh IV 

Fourth Council 
of IX 
Constantinople x j 
Burn'"l1 ollhe 
boo,,-\ 01 Phallus 



Hercules d0b Isis 




Cadmus dEJb Cecrops 

: PvIhagoras 
. . 
VI Epicharmus d
b Palamedes VII 
Si mon ides 

VII ClaudIus dGb Nlcoslrala VIII 

VIII Jerome d[{]b Vlphila







f Bibliotheca 
XI X Apostolorum 
t tl.PonI llicum 

Fig. 18. Rough groundplan of the great hall of the Vatican Library. 
to ilIustrate the account of the decoration. 



(' _ " HE evidence collected in the last chapter shews 

, that what I have there called the Roman con- 

'T\I t;"'t)) ccption of a library was maintained, even by 
j f

 Christian ecclesiastics, during man} centuries of 
our era. I have next to trace the beginning and 
the development of another class of libraries, 
directly connected \\ ith Christianity. \Ve shall find that the 
books intended for the use of the new communities were stored 
in or near the places where they met for service, just as in 
the most ancient times the safe-keeping of similar treasures 
had been entrusted to temples. 
It is easy to see how this came about. The necessary 
scrvice-books would be placed in the hands of the ecclcsiastic 
who had charge of the building in \, hich the congregation 
asscmbled. To these volumes-which at first were doubtless 
regarded in the same light as ,"cstmcnts or sacred vessels-- 
treatises intended for edification or instruction would bc gradually 
addcd, and so the nucleus of a library would be formed. 
The existence of such librarics does not rest on inference 
only. There are numcrous allusions to them in thc Fathers 


and other writers; S. Jerome, for instance, advises a correspondent 
to consult church-libraries, as though every church possessed one1. 
As however the allusions to them are general, and say nothing 
about extent or arrangement, this part of my subject need not 
detain us long 2 . 
The earliest collection of which I have discovered any record 
is that got together at Jerusalem, by Bishop Alexander, who 
died A.D. 25 0 . Eusebius, when writing his Ecclesiastical History 
some eighty years later, describes this library as a storehouse of 
historical records, which he had himself used with advantage 
in the composition of his work 3 . A still more important collec- 
tion existed at Cæsarca in Palestine. S. Jerome says distinctly 
that it was founded by Pamphilus, "a man who in zeal -for the 
acquisition of a library wished to take rank with Demetrius 
Phalereus and l'isistratus 4 ." As Pamphilus suffered martyrdom 
in A.D. 309, this library must have been got together soon after 
that at Jerusalem. It is described as not only extensive, but 
remarkable for the importance of the manuscripts it contained, 
Here was the supposed Hebrew original of S. :\Iatthew's Gospel5, 
and most of the works of Origen, got together by the pious care 
of Pamphilus, who had been his pupil and devoted admirer. 
S. Jerome himself worked in this library, and collated there 
the manuscripts which Origen had used when preparing his 
Hexapla 6 . At Cirta the church and the library were evidently 

1 Epist. XLIX. !! 3- Ad Pammachium. Revolve omnium quos supra memoravi 
commentarios, et ecclesiarum bibliothecis fruere et magis concito gradu ad optata 
coeptaque pervenies. 
" I have to acknowledge my indebtedness to the article .. Libraries," in the 
Dictionary oj Christian Antiquities, and to the references there given. 
3 Hist. Ece!. VI. 20. lIKp.aI"ol' lil Karå roûro 7I"XEÍovs M')'.o. Kai fKKX'I)(TLaur'Kol 
Ò.I'lipfS WI' Kal itnuroXås ås 7I"pðs à,\,\>í,\ovs li,<xáparrol' iT< víJI' uwI"op.fvas "'p<Îv d17ropol', 
at Kal <is 1}p.âs ÈtþvXáx(J'I)uav II' ry Karà r
v AlXiav ß.ß'\'O(J1;K1] 7I"pðs roû r'l)v'Káð< r1}v 
auró(Jt li'
7I"ovros 7I"apo'Klav . AX<l;ávlipov 17I"'uKwau(J.tu1], àtþ' 
s Kal aUTOì rås VXas riìs 
p.<rå x<îpas Í171"O(JfU<WS <71"1 raurð uvva')'å')'<", li.livv.qp.<(Ja. 
4 Epist. XXXIV., Ad ilIarcellltlll. De aliquot locis Psalmi cxxvi. Migne, Vol. XXII. 
44 8 . 
5 Ibid. De Viris I//ustriblts, Chap. 3. Migne, Vol. XXIII. 613- Porro ipsum 
lIebraicum habetur usque hodie in Cæsariensi bibliotheca quam Pamphilus martyr 
studiose confecit. 
6 COllllllent. tit Till/Ill, Chap. 3, v. 9, Unde et nobis cur", fuit omnes Veteris Legis 
libros quos vir doctus Adamantius in I-lexapla digesserat de Cl?sariensi bibliotheca 
descriptos ex ipsis authenticis emendare. 




in the same building, from the way in which they are spoken of 
in the account of the persecution of A.D, 3 0 3- 3 0 4. " The 
officers," we are told," went into the building (do11l1ls) where 
the Christians were in the habit of meeting." There they took 
an inventory of the plate and vestments. .. Hut," proceeds the 
narrative, "when they came to the library, the presses there 
were found empty I." Augustine, on his deathbed, A.D. 43 0 , gave 
directions that" the library of the church [at Hippo], and all 
the manuscripts, should be carefully preserved by those who 
came after him 2." 
Further, there appears to be good reason for belie\-ing that 
when a church had a triple apse, the lateral apses were separated 
off by a curtain or a door, the one to contain the sacred vessels, 
the other the books. This view, which has been elaborated by 
De Rossi in explanation of three recesses in the thickness of the 
wall of the apse of a small private oratory discO\"ered in Rome 
in 18763, is chiefly supported by the language of l'aulinus, Bishop 
of Nola, who lived from about A.D. 353 to A.D. 431. He describes 
a basilica erected by himself at Xola in honour of S. Felix, 
martyr, as having "an apse divided into three (apsidc11l /ri- 
cllOra11l)4"; and in a subsequent passage, after stating that there 
are to be two recesses, one to the right, the other to the left of 
the apse, he adds, " these verses indicate the use of each 3 ," and 
gives the following couplets, with their headings: 

On the right of the Apse. 

Hic locus t:st veneranda penus qua conditur, et qua 
Ponitur alma sacri pompa ministerii. 
Here are the sacred vessels stored, and here 
The peaceful trappings of our holy rites. 

I OptaIus: De schis",at
 Dotlatistaru",. Fol. Paris, 1701. App. p. 16 7' 
2 Augustini Opera, Paris. 1838, XI. p. 101. 
3 BullettÙ/o di -lrcheologia Christia"a, Serie terza, 1876, p. 4 8 . 
4 Epist. XXXII. 
 10 (ed. Migne, Vol. LXI. p. 33!')' Ba_ilica igitur illa.._reliquii- 
apostolorum et martyrum intra apsidem trichoram sub aharia s:lcratis. 
3 Ibid. 
 13, Cum duabus dextra lævaque conchulis intra spaIiosum sui ambitum 
apsis sinuata laxetur, una earum immolanti hostias jubilation is antistiti parat; altera 
acerdotem C'lpaci 
inu receptat orantes_.. !S 16. In ,ecretarii, \ero duolms qu't: 
,upra dixi circa ap_idem cs,c hi \ersu_ indicant officia singulorum. 




On the left of the same. 
Si quem sancta tenet meditandi in lege voluntas 
Hic poterit residens sacris intendere libris. 
Here he whose thoughts are on the laws of God 
May sit and ponder over holy books. 
As De Rossi explains, the first of the two niches was in- 
tended to contain the vessels and furniture of the altar; the 
second was reserved for the safe-keeping of the sacred books. 
The word trich01'a, in Greek TpíXCJJ, is used by later writers to 
designate a three-fold division of any object-as for instance, 
by Dioscorides, of the seed-pod of the acacia 1. 
\\'hether this theory of the use of the apse be accurate or 
fanciful, the purely Christian libraries to which I have alluded 
were undoubtedly connected, more or less closely, with churches; 
and I submit that the libraries which in the Middle Ages were 
connected with cathedrals and collegiate churches are their lineal 
I have next to consider the libraries formed by monastic 
communities, the origin of which may be traced to very early 
times. Among the Christians of the first three centuries there 
were enthusiasts who, discontented with the luxurious life they 
led in the populous cities along the coasts of Africa and Syria, 
fled into the Egyptian deserts, there to lead a life of rigorous 
self-denial and religious contemplation. These hermits were 
presently joined by other hermits, and small communities were 
gradually formed, with a regular organization that foreshadowed 
the Rules and Customs of the later monastic life. Those who 
governed these primitive monasteries soon realised the fact that 
without books their inmates would relapse into barbarism, and 
libraries were got together. The Ru]e of S. Pachomius (A.D. 
292-345), whose monastery was at Tabennisi near Denderah in 
Upper Egypt, provides that the books of the House are to be 
kept in a cupboard (fenestra) in the thickness of the wall. Any 
brother who wanted a book might have one for a week, at the 
end of which he was bound to return it. 1\0 brother might 

1 Book I. Chap. 2. De Acacia. tþÉpfl (nrÉpp.a fV OVXåKOLS <TVVf!WYP.ÉVOLS Tp'x'WpOU 

 TfTpa)(wpoLs. Compo also Book IV. Chap. 16j. The use of the apse is ùi,cussed 
by Lenoir, AuhitectltYe /;follastiqltc, +to. Paris, 18;;2, Vol. I. p. III. 




leave a book open when he went to church or to meals. In the 
evening the officer called .. the Second," that is, the second in 
command, was to take charge of the books, count them, and 
lock them up.. 
These provisions, insisted upon at a ,"ery early date, form 
a suitable introduction to the most important section of my 
subject-the care of books by the :\Ionastic Orders. \\"ith 
them book-preserving and book-producing were reduced to a 
system, and in their libraries-the public libraries of the l\Iiddle 
Ages-literature found a home, until the invention of printing 
handed over to the world at large the duties which had been 
so well discharged by special communities. This investigation 
is full of difficulty; and, though I hope to arrive at some definite 
conclusions respecting the position, size, dimensions, and fittings 
of monastic libraries, I must admit that my results depend to 
a certain extent on analogy and inference. It should be 
remembered that in England the monasteries were swept 
away more than three centuries ago by a sudden catastrophe, 
and that those who destroyed them were far too busy with 
their own affairs to place on record the aspect or the plan of 
what they were wrecking. In France again, though little more 
than a century has elapsed since her monasteries were ovcr- 
whelmed by the Revolution, and though descriptions and 
views of many of her great religious houses have been preserved, 
and much has been done in the way of editing catalogues of 
their manuscripts, there is still a lamentable dearth of infor- 
mation on my particular subject. 
I shall begin by quoting some passages from the Rules and 
Customs of the different Orders, \\ hich shew (I) that reading 

1 Hol,ten, Codex Regu/arum, (01. .i
9. I. Regula S. Pachomii, Ko. c. p. 3 1 . 
Kcmo varlens ad collect am aut ad vescenrlum dimiuat codicem non ligatum. Codices 
qui in fenestra id est intrinsecus parietis reponuntur ad ,e'perum erunt 
ub manu 
,ecundi qui numerabit eos et ex more concludet. The Voord fenestra is iIIu,traterl by 
a previous section of the Rule, No. LXXXII. p. 30. Xullus habebiI separatim 
monlacem pavulam ad evellendas 'I'inas si forte calca,-erit absque Præposlto domus et 
secundo: pendeafque in fenestra in qua codices collocantur. DUC'lnge say' Ihat the 
word is userl for the small cupboard in which Ihe Sacrament was reserved. Here it is 
evidently a recess in the wall clo_ed by a door-like one of the later armaria. On 
 and hi_ foundaIion see The Lallsi" Hi,t,'ry of Pa//"di..s, hy Dom Cuthbert 
Uutler, Camu. I !;'JH, ami esp. p. 134' 

C. L. 





was encouraged and enforced by S. Benedict himself, with whom 
the monastic life, as we conceive it, may be said to have 
originated; (2) that subsequently, as Order after Order was 
founded, a steady development of feeling with regard to books, 
and an ever-increasing care for their safe-keeping, can be 
The Rule of S. Benedict was made public early in the sixth 
century; and the later Orders were but offshoots of the 
Benedictine tree, either using his Rule or basing their own 
statutes upon it. It will therefore be desirable to begin this 
research by examining what S. Benedict said on the subject 
of study, and I will translate a few lines from the 48th chapter 
of his Rule, Of daily malluallabollr. 

Idleness is the enemy of the soul; hence brethren ought, at certain 
seasons, to occupy themselves with manual labour, and again, at certain 
hours, with holy reading.... 
Between Easter and the calends of October let them apply them- 
selves to reading from the fourth hour till near the sixth hour. 
From the calends of October to the beginning of Lent let them 
apply themselves to reading until the second hour.... During Lent, let 
them apply themselves to reading from morning until the end of the 
third hour. ..and, in these days of LeIlÌ, let them receive a book apiece 
from the library, and read it straight through. These books are to be 
given out at the beginning of Lent'. 

In this passage the library-by which a book-press is 
probably to be understood-is specially mentioned. In other 
words, at that early date the formation of a collection of books 
was contemplated, large enough to supply the community with 
a volume apiece, without counting the service-books required for 
use in the church. 
The Benedictine Order flourished and increased abundantly 
for more than four centuries, until, about A.D. 912, the order of 
Cluni was established. It was so called from the celebrated 
abbey near Mâcon in Burgundy, which, though not the first 
house of the Order in point of date, became subsequently the 
first in extent, wealth, and reputation. As a stricter observance 
of the Ru]e of S. Benedict was the main object which the 
founder of this Order had in view, the Benedictine directions 

, Benedict; Regula lIfOllachoru11l. ed. E. \\'oelffiin, Leipzig, Teubner, 1895. 




respecting study are maintained and developed. The Customs 
prescribe the following regulations for books: 
On the second day of Lent the only passage of the Rule to be read 
in Chapter is that concerning the observance of lent. 
fhen shall be read aloud a note (breVis) of the books which a year 
before had been given out to brethren for their reading. When a 
brother's name is called, he rises, and returns the book that had been 
given to him; and if it should happen that he has not read it through, 
he is to ask forgiveness for his want of diligence. 
.-\ carpet on \\ hich those books are to be laid out is to be put down 
in the Chapter-House; and the titles of those which are distributed 
to brethren afresh are to be noted, for which purpose a tablet is to be 
made of somewhat larger size than usual'. 

In a subsequent chapter it is directed that the books are 
to be entrusted to the official .. who is called Precentor and 
Armarius, because he usually has charge of the library, which 
is also called the armarium (press)2. This arrangement shews 
that up to this date all the books, whether service-books or not, 
were regarded as belonging to the church. 
I come next to the decrees given to the English Benedictines 
by Archbishop Lanfranc in or about 1070. .. \Ve send you" he 
says "the Customs of our Order in writing, selected from the 
Customs of those houses (cæ1/obia) which are in our day of the 
highest authority in the monastic orders." The section relating 
to books is so interesting that I will translate it. 
On the 
Ionday after the first Sunday in Lent...before the brethren 
go in to Chapter, the librarian (ClistoS Iibrorll1/l) ought to have all the 

, De seamd" feria qlladragesil1ltC. In capitulo nequaquam alia Regulæ sententia 
legitur quam quæ est de quadrage_imâ. Recitatur quoque Brevis librorum qui anno 
præterito sunt ad legendum fratribus erogati. Cum quilibet frater nominatur, surgit, 
et lil,rum sibi datum reddit: et si eum forte non perlegerit, pro in<liligentiâ veniam 
petit. Est autem unus tapes ibi conMratus ,uper quem illi libri ponuntur, lie qui bus 
ilerum quanti dantur, dantur cum Brevi; et ad hoc e,t una Iahula ali'luantulum major 
facta. AIl/iqlliores COIlSllel"di'Jes CI""iacmsis .1Iollas/erii. Lib. I. Cap. LlI. 
1>' Achery, Spicile
izll1', ed. Ij13, I. 667. 
. Ibid. Lib. III. Cap. x. Ibid. 690. De PrtCcen/ore e/ Arman'o. Præcentor et 
 Arm3rii nomen obIinuit eo qUM in eju, manu solet es
e llibliotheca quæ et 
in alio nomine Armarium appellatur. 
S Reyner. Alos/oia/lls BenedÙ/i,zorul1l in Anglia, fol. 1616. ApI" Part III. 1'.111. 
tyles him
c1f in the prolobTUe Bi,hop of Rouen, these decrees must have 
hecn j"ued bet"cclI .\uglht lofij 3nd .\Ug'bt 10jo. "hen he \\a, made Archbishop 
of Canterbury. 

5- 2 


books brought together into the Chapter-House and laid out on a carpet, 
except those which had been given out for reading during the past year: 
these the brethren ought to bring with them as they come into Chapter, 
each carrying his book in his hand. Of this they ought to have had 
notice given to them by the aforesaid librarian on the preceding day in 
Chapter. Then let the passage in the Rule of S. Benedict about the 
observance of Lent be read, and a discourse be preached upon it. Next 
let the librarian read a document (bre'l'e) setting forth the names of the 
brethren who have had books during the past year; and let each brother, 
when he hears his own name pronounced, return the book which had 
been entrusted to him for reading; and let him who is conscious of not 
having read the book through which he had received, fall down on his 
face, confess his fault, and pray for forgiveness. 
Then let the aforesaid librarian hand to each brother another book 
for reading; and when the books have been distributed in order, let the 
aforesaid librarian in the same Chapter put on record the names of the 
books, and of those who receive them 1. 

It is, I think, certain that when Lanfranc was writing this 
passage thc Cluniac Customs must have been before him 2 . It 
should be noted that the librarian is not defined otherwise than 
as "keeper of the books," but we learn from the Customs of 
Benedictine houses subsequcnt to Lanfranc's timc that this duty 
was discharged by the Precentor, as in the Cluniac Customs. 
For instance, in the Customs of the Benedictine house at 
Abingdon, in Berkshire, drawn up near the end of the twelfth 
century, we read: 

The precentor shall keep clean the presses belonging to the boys 
and the novices, and all others in which the books of the convent are 
stored, repair them when they are broken, provide coverings for the 
books in the library, and make good any damage done to them 3. 

The precentor cannot sell, or give away, or pledge any books; nor 
can he lend any except on deposit of a pledge, of equal or greater 
value than the book itself. It is safer to fall back on a pledge, than to 

1 Reyner, Apos/olatus EenedictÙlOrlll1l in A IIglia, fo!' 1616. App. Part III. p. '216. 
2 I am aware that the Customs printed by D' Achery are dated 1110; but it need 
not be assumed that they were written in that year. Similar directions are to be found 
among the Veteres Consuetudines of the Benedictine Abbey of S. Benoit sur Loire, or 
Fleury, founded A.D. 615. Floriaccmis vetus Eibliotheca, 8vo. Lyons, 160:;, p. 39... 
3 Cantor alma ria puerorum juvenum et alia in quibus libri convent us reponentur 
innovabit fracta præparabit [reparabit?] pannos librorum bibliothecæ reperiet fracturas 
librorum reficiel. Cllrollicoll monaster;i de Abingdon (De obedientariis Abhendoniæ). 
Rolls Series, II. 3i I. 




proceed against an individual. Moreover he may not lend except to 
neighbouring churches, or to persons of conspicuous \\orth '. 
The Customs of the Abbey of Evesham in \\'orcestershire 
give the same directions in a slightly different form. 
It is part of the precentor's duty to entrust to the }ounger monks 
the care of the pre
ses, and to keep them in repair: \\ henever the 
convent is sitting in cloister, he is to go round the cloister as soon as 
the bell has sounded, and replace the books, in case any brother through 
carelessness should have forgotten to do so. 
He is to take charge of all the books in the monastery, and have 
them in his J.eeping, provided his carefulness and knowledge be such 
that they may be entru
ted to him. 
o one is to take a book out 
unless it be entered on his roll: nor is any book to be lent to anyone 
without a proper and sufficient \ oucher, and this too is to be set dm\ n 
on his rolP. 
The Carthusians-the second offshoot of the Benedictine 
trce ( 108 4)-also preserved the primitive tradition of study. 
They not only read themselves, but were actively employed in 
writing books for others. In the chapter of their statutes which 
deals with the furniture allowed to each" tenant of a cell (i/lcola 
celie) "-(for in this community each brother li\"cd apart, with 
his sitting-room, bcd-room, and plot of garden-ground)-all the 
articles necdful for writing are enumerated, " for nearly all those 
whom we adopt we teach, if possible, to write," and then the 
writer passes on to books. 
Moreover he-[the tenant of the cell]-receives two books out of 
the prcss for reading. He is admoni..hed to take the utmost care and 
pains that they be not soiled by smoke or dust or dirt of any kind; for 
it is our \\ ish that books, as being the perpetual food of our souls, 
should be most jealously guarded, and most carefully produced, that we, 
who cannot preach the word of God \\ ith our lips, may preach it with 
our hands ". 

, Cantor non pote
t libros vendere dare vel impignorare. CanIor non potest libros 
accommodare nbi pignore, quod tanti vel majoris fuerit, repo
iIo. Tutius e.t pignori 
incumbere quam in personam agere. I loc autem licet facere tantum vicinis ecc1esiis \"el 
excellentibus personis. Ibid. pp. 373, 3i4. 
2 /rlon. .rl1'gl. II. 39, The la
t sentence run
 as follo\\s in the original: r-. ullus 
liurum capiat ni,i scribatur in rotulo ejus; nec alicUl liber aliquis mutuo Iradatur 
ahsque competenti et sufficienti memoriali, et hoc ponatur in rotulo ip,iu,. I 0\\ e 
this quotation and the la
t to Father Ga>oquet's So"'
 .\'olu on lIl,dieval .1lIJnas/;c 
LibYllries, 1891, p. 10. 
a Adhuc etiam lihros ad legendum de armario accipiI duos quibus omnem 
"iligcntiam curanuluc prehcrc mondur ne fumo ne puluere vd ..Iia qualiuet ,or"c 




They did, however, on occasion lend books, for it is provided 
that when books are lent no one shall retain them contrary to 
the wiII of the lenders l . It would be interesting to know how 
this rule was enforced. 
The Cistercian Order-founded I 128-adopted the Benedic- 
tine Rule, and with it the obligation of study and writing. 
Moreover, in their anxiety to take due care of their books, they 
went further than their predecessors; for they entrusted them 
to a special officer, instead of to the precentor, and they 
admitted a special room to contain them into the ground-plan 
of their houses. 
At a later point I shall return to the interesting subject of the 
Cistercian book-room. For the present I must content myself 
with translating from their Customs the passage relating to 
books. It occurs in Chapter cxv., Of the precentor and his 
assistant. After describing his various duties, the writer proceeds: 
With regard to the production and safe-keeping of charters and 
books, the abbat is to consider to whom he shall entrust this duty. 
The officer so appointed may go as far as the doors of the writing- 
rooms when he wants to hand in or to take out a book, but he may not 
go inside. In the same way for books in common use, as for instance 
anti phoners, hymnals, graduals, lectionaries [etc.], and those which are 
read in the .Frater and at Collation, he may go as far as the door of the 
novices, and of the sick, and of the writers, and then ask for what he 
wants by a sign, but he may not go further unless he have been 
commanded by the abbat. "'hen Collation is over it is his duty to 
close the press, and during the period of labour, of sleep, and of meals, 
and while vespers are being sung, to keep it locked". 
The Customs of the Augustinian Order are exceedingly full 
on the subject of books. I will translate part of the 14 th 
chapter of the Customs in use at BarnwclJ3, near Cambridge. 

maculentur; Libros '1uippe tanquam sempiternllm animarum nostrarum cibllm 
cautissime cuslOdiri et studiosissime volumus fieri vt qui ore non possumus dei verbum 
manibus predÌl:emns. Guigonis, PlÌoris Carthusiæ, Statuta. 1'01. Basle, 1;;10. 
Statuta Alltiqucl, Part 2, Cap. XVI. 
I Libros cum commodantur nullus contra commodantium retineat voluntatem. 
IbÙi. Cap. XXXII. 
2 L
s MOllllmtltts primitijs de la R,'gle Cist
râell1ze, par Ph. Guignard, 8vo. Dijon, 
18i8. p. 23i. 
3 Th
 ObSe17J,mces ziz lIS
 at tIle Augllstimtl1l Priory tif S. Gil
s alld S. Alldrew at 
Barllwdl: ed. J. W. Clark. 8\0. Camh., I89i, p. [
. This passage also occurs ill 
the Customs of the Augustinian House at Grönendaal near Brussels. 
rs. in the 
Royal Library, Brussels, fol. ;;3. ,0. De Armario. 



7 1 

It is headed: Of tlte safe keepÙlg of tlte books, and of tlte office 
of Librariall (armarilts). As the passage occurs also in the 
Customs as observed in France and in Belgium, it may be 
taken, I presume, to represent the general practice of the Order. 

The Librarian, who is called also Precentor, is to take charge of the 
books of the church; all \\ hich he ought to keep and to kno\\ under 
their separate titles; and he should frequently eJ\.amine them carefully 
to pre\ent any damage or injury from insects or decay. He ought also, 
at the beginning of Lent, in each year, to shew them to the con\ent in 
Chapter, when the souls of tho>>e who have given them to the church, or 
of the brethren \\ ho have \Hitten them, and laboured over them, ought 
to be absolved, and a senice in convent be held over them. He ought 
also to hand to the brethren the books which they see occasion to use, 
and to enter on his roll the titles of the books, and the names of those 
who receive them. These, \\ hen required, are bound to give surety for 
the \olumes they receive; nor may they lend them to others, whether 
kno\\n or unknown, \\ithout ha\ing first obtained permission from the 
Librarian. Kor ought the Librarian himself to lend books unless he 
recei,,-e a pledge of equal value; and then he ought to enter on his roll 
the name of the borro\\ er, the title of the book lent, and the pledge 
taken. The larger and morc valuable books he ought not to lend to 
anyone, knO\\n or unknO\\n, \\ithout permission of the Prelate.... 
Books which are to be kept at hand for daily use, whether for 
singing or reading, ought to be in some common place, to which all the 
brethren can ha,,-e easy access for inspection, and selection of anything 
which seems to them suitable. The books, thcrefore, ought not to be 
carried away into chambers, or into corners out!.ide the Cloister or the 
Church. The Lihrarian ought frequcntly to dust the books carefully, 
to rcpair them, and to point them, lest brethren should find any error 
or hindrance in the daily sef\ice of the church, \\ hether in singing or in 
reading. Ko other brother ought to era,;e or change anything in the 
books unless he ha"e obtained the consent of the Librarian.... 
The press in which the books are l.ept ought to be lined inside with 
wood, that thc damp of the walls may not moi'iten or !.tain the books. 
This press should be di"ided vertically as well as horizontally by sundry 
shelves on \\ hich the books may be ranged so as to be separated from 
one another; for fear they be packed !.o close as to injure each other or 
delay those who want them '. 
Further, as the books ought to be mended, pointed, and taken care 
of by the Lihrarian, so ought they to be properly bound by him. 

 I know of no olher passage in a medieval \\filer which descrihes 
an armarillm, 1 lranscribe Ihe original lext: Armarium. in quo Iihri reponunlur, 
inlrin,ecu' ligno ve,lilum e"e dehet ue humor parieIum libro, humeclel vel inficiaI, 
In quo eciam diver
i ordines seorsum el deor
um dislincIi e'se <lebenl, in qui bus Iibri 
separaIim col\ocari pm"int, el di
lingui abim ic"m, ne nimia comprð,io ip,is libri, 
no"cal, \d 'luerenIi moram inueclal. 

7 2 



The Order of Prémontré-better known as the Premonstra- 
tensians, or reformed Augustinians-repeat the essential part 
of these directions in their statute, Of the Librariall (arlllarills), 
with this addition, that it is to be part of the librarian's duty to 
pro\'ide for the borrowing of books for the use of the House, as 
well as for lending 1 . 
Lastly, the Friars, though property was forbidden, and 
S. Francis woulù not allow his disciples to Own so much as a 
psalter or a breviary", soon found that books were a necessity, 
and the severity of early discipline was relaxed in favour of a 
library. S. Francis died in 1226, and only thirty-four years 
afterwards, among the constitutions adopted by a General 
Chapter of the Order held at X arbonne IO June, 1260, arc 
several provisions relating to books. They are of no great 
importance, taken by themselves, but their appearance at so 
early a date proves that books had become indispensable. It is 
enacted that no brother may write books, or have them written, 
for sale; nor may the chief officer of a province venture to keep 
books without leave obtained from the chief officer of the whole 
Order; no brother may keep the books assigned to him, unless 
they are altogether the property of the Order-and so forth 3. 
A century later, whcn Richard de Bury, Bishop of Durham, was 
writing his Philobibloll (completed 24 January, 1344-45), he 
could say of them and the other friars-whom, be it remembered, 
he, as a regular, would regard with scant favour- 
But whenever it happened that we turned aside to the cities and 
places where the !\Iendicants had their convents we did not disdain to 
visit their libraries and any other repositories of books; nay there we 
found heaped up amidst the utmost poverty the utmost riches of wisdom. 

] Statuta primaria Præmonstratensis Ordinis, Cap. VII. ap. Le Paige, Bibliotheca 
PYiE1I1. Ord. fo[. Paris, 1633. p. R03. The words are: Ad Armarium p..rtinet libros 
custodire, et si sci\'erit emendare; Armarium [ibrorum, cum necesse fuerit, cIaudere et 
aperire...[ibros mutuo accipere cum necesse fuerit et nostros qllærentihus commodare 
sed non sine licentia Abbatis vel Prioris absente Abbate et non sine memoria[i 
2 The delightful story of S. Francis and the brother who \\ ished for a psalter of 
his own is told in the Speculum Pt!rftctÙmis, ed. Sabatier, 8vo. Paris, 18 9 8 , p. [I. 
3 These ConstituIions ha\e been printed by Father F. EhrIe in a paper called 
Die älleslen Redtlctiollen dtr Ct!lzera/cOlzstitlltiolzt!n des FrallzisktllZ<,rordelZs, in .. Archiv 
fLir Literatur lInd Kirchengeschichte des :\Iittelalte.-.," Band VI. Pl'. [-13 8 . The 
passages cited abO\'e \\ ill he found on p. II I. 




We discovered in their fardels and baskets not only crumbs falling 
from the master's table for the dogs, but the shewbread \\ ithout leaven 
and the bread of angels having in it all that is delicious; and indeed 
the garners of Joscph full of corn, and all the spoil of the Egyptians and 
the very precious gifts which Queen Sheba brought to Solomon. 
These men are as ants e,"er preparing their meat in the summer, and 
ingenious hees continually fabricating cells of honey... And to pay due 
rcgard to truth...although they lately at the eleventh hour have entered 
the Lord's \ ineyard..., they have added more in this brief hour to the 
stock of the sacred books than all the other \ inedressers; follo\\ ing in 
the footsteps of Paul, the last to be called but the first in preaching, 
who sprcad the gospel of Chri,>t more \\idely than all others'. 
At Assisi, the parent house of the Franciscan Order, there 
was a library of considerable extent, many volumes of which 
still exist, with a catalogue drawn up in 13 8 1. 
At this point I will resume the conclusions which may be 
deduced from this examination of the Benedictine Rule and the 
Customs founded upon it, 
In the first place they all assume the existence of a library. 
S. Benedict contents himself with general directions about study. 
The Cluniacs put the books in charge of the precentor, who is to 
be called also armarills, and they prescribe an annual audit of 
them, with the assignment of a single volume to each brother, 
on the security of a written attestation of the fact. These 
regulations were adopted by the Benedictines, with fuller rules 
for the librarian, who is still precentor also. He is to keep 
both presses and books in repair, and personally to supen-ise 
the daily use of the manuscripts, restoring to their proper places 
those that brethrcn may have been reading. Among these rules 
permission to lend books on receipt of a pledge first makes its 
appearance. The Carthusians maintain the principle of lending. 
Each brother might have two books, and he is to be specially 
careful to keep them clean. The Cistercians appoint a special 
officer to have charge of the books, about the safety of which 
great care is to be taken, and at certain times of the day he is to 
lock the press. The Augustinians and the Premonstratensians 
follow the Cluniacs and Benedictines: but the Premonstratensians 
direct their librarian to tahe note of the boohs that the House 
borrows as well as of those that it lends: and they adopt the 
Cistercian precaution about his opening and locking the press. 
I Th
 Philo","', n of Rirhar,/ de flury, ed. E. C. Thoma,. R\n. Lond. ,SHR, p. 




Secondly, by the time that Lanfranc was writing his statutes 
for English Benedictines, it was evidently contemplated that the 
number of books would have exceeded the number of brethren, 
for the keeper of the books is directed to bring all the books 
of the House into Chapter, and after that the brethren, one 
by one, are to bring in the books which they have borrowed). 
Among the books belonging to the House there were probably 
some service-books; but, from the language used, it appears to 
me that we may fairly conclude that by the end of the eleventh 
century Benedictine Houses had two sets of books: (I) those 
which were distributed among the brethren; (2) those which 
were kept in some safe place, as part of the possessions of the 
House: or, to adopt modern phrases, that they had a lending 
library and a library of reference. 
Thirdly, it is evident that the loan of books to persons in 
general, on adequate security, began at a very early date. On 
this account I have already \'entured to call monastic libraries 
the public libraries of the l\Iiddle Ages. As time went on, the 
practice was developed, and at last became general. It was even 
enjoined upon monks as a duty by their ecclesiastical superiors. 
In 1212 a Council which met at Paris made the following decree, 
but I am not able to say whether it was accepted out of France: 

We forbid those who belong to a religious Order, to formulate any 
vow against lending their books to those who are in need of them; 
seeing that to lend is enumerated among the principal works of mercy. 
After careful consideration, let some books be kept in the House for 
the use of brethren; others, according to the decision of the abbat, be 
lent to those who are in need of them, the rights of the House being 
From the present date no book is to be retained under pain of 
incurring a curse [for its alienation], and we declare all such curses to 
be of no effect ". 

1 In the Cluniac Cu
toms those volumes only which had been assigned to particular 
brethren are to be laid on the carpet. It is difficult to understand the reason for this 
formal assignment of a book to each brother who chose to ask for one. As brethren 
in those early times had no separate cuhicles or cells, it could hardly imply more than 
a precaution against the difficulty of two brethren requiring the use of Ihe same 
volume. Possihly Ihe \\hole intention was disciplinary, to ensure study as prescribed 
by the Rule. 
2 Delisle, Bib!. de l'École des Chartès. Ser. 3, Vol. I. p. 

5' Interdicimus inter 
alia viris religiosis, ne emittant juramentum de non commodando lihros suos indigen- 
tibus, cum commodare inter præciplla mist:ricordiæ opera computetur. Sed, adhibita 




I n the same century many volumes \\ ere bequeathed to the 
Augustinian House of S. \ïctor, Paris, on the express condition 
that they should be so lent!. It is almost needless to add that 
one abbey was continually lending to another, either for reading 
or for copying2. 
Houses which lent liberally would probably be the first to 
relax discipline so far as to admit strangers to their libraries; 
and in the sixteenth and following centuries the libraries of the 
Benedictine House of S. Germain des Près, Paris, as well as the 
already mentioned House of S. \Tictor, were open to all comers 
on certain days in the week. 
'''hen we tr)' to realise the feelings with which monastic 
communities regarded books, it must always be remembered 
that they had a paternal interest in them, In many cases they 
had been written in the very House in which they were after- 
wards read from generation to generation: and if not, they had 
probably been procured by the exchange of some work so 
written. In fact, if a book \\as not a son of the House, it was at 
least a nephe\\. 
The convictiun that books were a possession with which no 
cOI1\'ent could dispense, appears in many medie\'al writers. 
The whole matter is summed up in the phrase, written about 
1170, .. claustrum sine armario, castrum sine armamentario S ," an 
epigram which I will not spoil by trying to translate it; and 
even more clearly in the passionate utterances of Thomas à 
Kempis on the desolate condition of priest and convent without 
books.. The U round of creation" is explored for similes to 
enforce this truth. A priest so situated is like a horse without 
bridle, a ship without oars, a writer without pens, a bird without 
wings, etc.; while the House is like a kitchen without ste\\ pans, 
con,ideratione diligenti, alii in domo ad opus fralrum retineantur; alii secundum 
providentiam abbaIi_, cum indemnitate dOni us, indigenIihu_ cnmmodentur. Et a 
modo nullu
 liber sub anathemate teneatur, et omnia predicIa anathemata ahsolvimus. 
Labbe, COllcilia, XI. 69' 
I Deli"le, Cab. des .JlanrlScrils, II. 226. 
2 M. Delisle (III mpra, II. 12.) cites an in-cription in one of tbe 
ISS. of Ihe 
Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris: .. Liber i
te de Corheia: ...e,I pre'tavernnt nobis usque 
fabillon, TIz
sallrlls An
cdol{>rll"', \"o\. I. p. I
· Opa Thomæ a CamPis, fo\. 1
23. Fnl. XI \ II,;, The I'a-"'ge "ecur_ in hi, 
 Jllvc",l1n, Cap. \ . 

7 6 



a table without food, a well without water, a river without fish- 
and many othcr things which I have no space to mention. 
Evidence of the solicitude with which they protected their 
treasures is not wanting. The very mode of holding a manuscript 
was prescribed, if not by law, at least by general custom. "\Vhen 
the religious are engaged in reading in cloister or in church," 
says an Ordcr of the General Benedictine Chapter, " they shall 
if possible hold the books in their left hands, wrapped in the 
sleeve of their tunics, and resting on thcir knees; their right 
hands shall be uncovered with which to hold and turn the leaves 
of the aforesaid books 1 ." In a manuscript at Monte Cassino' is 
the practical injunction 
Quisquis quem tetigerit 
Sit illi Iota manus; 
and at the same House the possession of handkerchiefs-which 
were evidently regarded as effeminate inventions-is specially 
excused on the ground that they would be useful-among othcr 
things-" for wrapping rounù the manuscripts which brethren 
handles." Of similar import is the distich at the end of a 
fine manuscript formerly in the library of S. Victor: 
Qui servare liLris preciosis nescit honorcm 
Illius a manibus sit procul iste liber 4 . 
\\'ith these injunctions may be compared a note in a four- 
teenth century manuscript from the same library: 
Whoever pursues his studies in this book, should be careful to 
handle the leaves gently and delicately, so as to avoid tearing them 
by reason of their thinness; and let him imitate the example of Jesus 
Christ, who, when he had quietly opened the book of Isaiah and read 
therein attentively, rolled it up with reverence, and gave it again to the 
minister ð ; 
1 lIf-..dÙvallllo1Jastic Libraries: by F. A. Gasquet, p. 15, The passage translated 
above occurs in a Custumary of S. Augustine's, Canterbury, I\ISS. Cotton, Faustina, 
c. XII. fol. 196 b. 
I Cat. iI/Ollie Cassino, II. 299. 
3 Theodmarus Ca'isinensis to Charlemagne, ap. lIæften, DistJuisitiolles 1Ilonflsticæ, 
fol. 1644. p. 108S. 
4 Delisle, 211 supra, II. 22j. 
ð Delisle, ut supra, II. 22j. Tu, quicunque studebis in hoc libro, prospice, et 
leviter atque dulciter tractes folia, ut cavere possi
 rupturam propter ipsorum tenui- 
taIem; et imitare doctrinam Jesu Christi, qui cum modeste aperuisset librum Ysaie 
et attente legisset, tandem revelenter complicuit ac minÏslIo reddidit. This injunction 
occurs, in substanct:. in the Philobibloll of Richard de Bury, ed. Thomas, p. 2.p. 




and the advice of Thomas à Kcmpis to the youthful students 
fòr whose benefit he composed the treatise called Doctrillak 
jmlC1ll11Jl which I have already quoted: 
Take thou a book into thine hands as Simeon the Just took the 
Child Jesus into his arms to carry him and kiss him. .\nd when 
thou hast finished reading, close the book and give thanks for every 
\\ord out of the mouth of God; because in the Lord"s field thou hast 
found a hidden treasure '. 

In a similar strain a writer or copyist entreats readers to be 
careful of his work-work which has cost him an amount of 
pains that they cannot realise. It is impossible to translate the 
original exactly, but I hope that I have given the meaning with 
tolerable clearness: 

I beseech you, my friend, when you are reading my book to keep 
your hands behind its back, for fear you should do mischief to the 
text by some sudden movement; for a man who knows nothing about 
\Hiting thinks that it is no concern of his. Whereas to a writer the 
la'it line is as sweet a'i port is to a sailor. Three fingers hold the pen, 
but the whole body toils. Thanks be to God. I Warembert \Hote 
this book in God's name. Thanks be to God. "\men!. 

Entreaties so gentle and so pathetic as these are seldom met 
with; but curses-in the same strain probably as those to which 
the Council of Paris took exception-are extremely common. 
In fact, in some Houses, a manuscript invariably ended with 
an imprccation-more or less severe, according to the writer's 
tasteS. I will append a few specimcns. 

This book belongs to S. :\Iaximin at his monastery of 
Iicy, which 
abbat Peter caused to be written, and with his own labour corrected 
and punctuated, and on Holy Thursday dedicated to God and S. 

Iaximin on the altar of S. Stephen, with this imprecation that he 
who should take it aw.lY from thence by what dc\Ìce soever, \\ith 

1 Opera Tho",,/, a C<l",Pis, fol. 1523. Fo\. XLVII. 
2 Amice qui legis, retro digiti
, ne subito liUeras delcas, quia iIIe homo qui 
ne!>Cit !>Crihere nullum -e putat hahere lahon:m; quia sicut navigantihus dulcis e
purlu" ita !'criptori novis
imu, versu'. Calamus tribu
 digiIis continetur, Iotum 
corpus laborat. Deo gratias. Ego, in Dei nomine, "uarembertus 
crip,i. Deu 
gratias. From a 
IS. in the Bib\. Xat. Paris (:\IS. Lat. I'Z29fi) from the Ahbey of 
Corbie: "les caractères dénotent I'époque carlovingienne." DelIsle, ul supra, 
11. 121. 
3 On th" cur,,, imariahly u_ed at S. 'ictor'
. .ee Deli_Ie. fit Sllpr<l, 11. 22; II01t!. 

7 8 


[ CHAP. 

the intention of not restoring it, should incur damnation with the 
traitor Judas, with Annas, Caiaphas, and Pilate. Amen '. 
Should anyone by craft or any device whatever abstract this book 
from this place [J umièges] may his soul suffer, in retribution for what 
he has done, and may his name be erased from the book of the living 
and not be recorded among the Blessed 2. 
A simpler form of imprecation occurs very frequently in 
manuscripts belonging to S. _\Iban's: 
This book belongs to S. Alban. .!\lay whosoever steals it from him 
or destroys its title be anathema. Amen 3. 
A similar form of words occurs at the Cistercian House 
of Clairvaux, a great school of writing like S. Alban's, but 
whether it habitually protected its manuscripts in this manner 
I am unable to say: 
.!\lay whoever steals or alienates this manuscript, or scratches out 
its title, be anathema. .\men'. 
A very curious form of curse occurs in one of the manu- 
scripts of Christ Church, Canterbury. The writer repents of 
his severity in the last sentence. 
.!\lay whoever destroys this title, or by gift or sale or loan or 
exchange or thcft or by any other device knowingly alienates this 
book from the aforesaid Christ Church, incur in this life the male- 
diction of Jesus Christ and of the most glorious Virgin His .!\Iother, 
and of Blessed Thomas, 
Iartyr. Should however it please Christ, 
who is patron of Christ Church, may his soul be saved in the Day 
of Judgment'. 

1 Hic est liher Sancti :\[aximini Miciacensis monasterii, quem Pet IUs abbas scribere 
jussit et proprio labore providit atque distinxit, et die cænæ domini super sacrum 
altare sancti Stephani Deo et sancto I\[aximino habendum obtulit, suh hujusmodi voto 
ut quisquis eum inde aliquo ingenio non redditlllus abstulerit, cum J uda proditore, 
Anna et Caiapha atque Pilato damnationem accipiat. Amen. From a Benedictine 
House at Saint !\[esmin, Loiret. Delisle, ut supra, III. 3li4' 1\1. Delisle considers 
that the words" providit atque distinxit" mean" a été revue ct ponctuée." 
· Quem si quis vel dolo seu quoquo modo isti loco substraxerit anime sue propter 
quod fecerit detrimentum patiatur, atque de libro \iventium deleatur et cum iustis non 
scribatur. From the I\[i"al of Robert of JlImièges, ed. H. Bradshaw Soc., Rvo. 
18 9 6 , p. 3 1 6. 
3 Hie est liber sancti Albani quem qui ei abstllierit aut titulum deleverit anathema 
sit. Amen. I owe this quotation to the kindness of my frier.d Dr James. 
4 Cat. des flISS. des /Jepartements, 4tO. Vol. I. p. 128 (Ko. 2;;;;). 

 Quieunque hune titulum aboleverit vel a prefata ecclesia Christi dono vel vcn- 
dicione vel accommodacione vel mutacione vel furta vel quocunque alio modo hune 




Lastly, I wi1\ quote a specimen in verse, from a breviary now 
in the library of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge: 
\\ner so ever y be come over aU 
I bdonge to the Chapell of gunv} lie hall; 
He shal he cursed by the grate sentens 
That fdonsly faryth and berith me thens. 
And whether he here me in pooke or sekke, 
For me he shall be hanged by the nekke, 
(I am so well bekno\\n of dyverse men) 
But I he restored theder agen J . 

On the other hand, the gift of books to a mQnastery was 
gratefully recorded and enumerated among the good deeds of 
their donors. Among the Augustinians such gifts, and the 
labour expended upon books in general, was the subject of 
a special service 2, 
It is not uncommon to find a monastic library regularly 
endowed with part of the annual revenue of the House. For 
instance, at Corbie, the librarian recei\'ed 10 sous from each 
of the higher. and 5 sous from each of the inferior officers, 
together with a certain number of bushels of corn from lands 
specially set apart for the purpose. This was confirmed by 
a bull of Pope Alexander III. (1166-1179)1. A similar ar- 
rangement was made at the library of S. Martin des Champs, 
Paris, in 1261 4 . At the Benedictine Abbey of Fleury, near 
Orleans, in 1146. it was agreed in chapter on the proposition 
of the abbat, that in each year on S. Benedict's winter festival 
(21 March), he and the priors subordinate to him, together with 
the officers of the House, should all contribute" to the repair 
of our books, the preparation of new ones, and the purchase 
of parchment." The name of each contributor, and the sum 
that he was to give, are recorded". At the Benedictine 
teryof Ely Bishop Xigel (1133-11ì4) granted the tithe of 
certain churches in the diocese" as a perpetual alms to the 

librum scienter alienaverit malediccionem Ihe'u Chri.ti et glurio,i.simc \'irginis matris 
ejus et beati Thome marliri" habeal ipse in vila presenli. Ita tamen quO<! si Christo 
placeat qui ",t palronus ecdesie Chri,ti eius "pirilus sahu" in die judicii fiat. Given 
10 me by Dr Jame", from a \IS. in Ihe library of frinily College, Cambridge. 
1 I have 10 thank my friend Dr \'enn for this quotalion. lie tells me that it "as 
fi.."t poinred out by Dr S\\ele in Tlti! Caia". II. p. J 27. 
2 See above, p. 71. 1 Deli"le, ul Sllpta, II. 12,.. 4 l"U. p. 139. 
· Ihid. p. .,Ií
. rd\\ard<, ,JJ.lII(>irs of I ,l>rar;i!S, I. 2




scriptorÙtl11 of the church uf Ely for the purpose of making and 
repairing the books of the said church '." The books referred 
to were probably, in the first instance, service-books; but the 
number required of these could hardly have been sufficient to 
occupy the whole time of the scribes, and the library would 
doubtless deri\'e benefit from their labours. The scriptori1tlll at 
S. Alban's was also specially endowed. 
\Ve must next consider the answer to the following questions: 
In what part of their Houses did the :\Ionastic Orders bestow 
their books? and what pieces of furniture did they use? The 
answer to the first of these questions is a very curious one, when 
we consider what our climate is, and indeed what the climate of 
the whole of Europe is, during the winter months. The centre of 
the monastic life was the cloister. Brethren were not allowed 
to congregate in any other part of the conventual buildings, 
except when they went into the frater, or dining-hall, for their 
meals, or at certain hours in certain seasons into the warming- 
house (califactorÙtII1). In the cloister accordingly they kept 
their books; and there they wrote and studied, or conducted 
the schooling of the novices and choir-boys, in winter and in 
summer alike. 
It is obvious that their work must have been at the mercy of 
the elements during many months of the year, and some important 
proofs that such was the case can be quoted. Cuthbert, Abbat of 
\Vearmouth and Jarrow in the second half of the eighth century, 
excuses himself to a correspondent for not having sent him all 
the works of Bede which he had asked for, on the ground that 
the intense cold of the previous winter had paralysed the hands 
of his scribes'; Ordericus Vitalis, whu wrote in the first half of 
the twelfth century, closes the fourth book of his Ecclesiastical 
History with a lament that he must lay aside his work for the 
winterS; and a monk of Ramsey Abbey in Huntingdonshire has 

1 Sllpple1Jll'nt to B,lltham's Ely, by \Vm Stevenson, 4to. '
Iï. p. 5" I have to 
thank my friend the Rev. J. II. Crosby,l\Iinor Canon of Ely Cathed,al. for a transcript 
of Bp Kigel's deed. 
2 1IIoll111Jlt'1lta _
logll1ltilla, ed. Jaß"é, 8vo. Berlin, 1866, in Bib!. Rer. Gel1ll. 
Vol. III. p. 30. ; quoted in Bede's works, ed. Plummer, p. xx. 
3 See Church's S. A1lSd1Jl, ed. 1885, p. 48. The words are: Nunc hyemali 
frigore rigens, aliis occupationibus ,acabo, præsentemf(lle libellum hic terminare 
fatigatlls decemo. Redeunte vero placidi veris sereno, etc. fEist. Eccl. Pars II. 
lib. IV. 




recorded his discomforts in a Latin couplet which seems to imply 
that in a place so inconvenient as a cloister all seasons were 
equally destructive of serious work: 

In vento mini me plmia nive sole sedere 
Possumus in clau!ttro nee scribere neque studere'. 
.\s we sit here in tempest in rain snow and sun 
Nor \\ riting nor reading in cloister is done. 

But, when circumstances were more propitious, plenty of 
good work that was 'of permanent value could be done in a 
cloister. A charming picture has come down to us of the 
literary activity that prevailed in the Abbey of S. Martin at 
Tournai at the end of the eleventh century, when Abbat Odo 
was giving an impulse to the writing of l\ISS. "'''hen you 
entered the cloister," says his chronicler, "you could generally 
see a dozen young monks seated on chairs, and silently writing 
at desks of careful and artistic design. \\ïth their help, he got 
accurate copies made of all Jerome's commentaries on the 
Prophets, of the works of Blessed Gregory, and of all the 
treatises he could find of Augustine, Ambrose, Isidore, and 
Anselm; so that the like of his library \\as not to be found in 
any of the neighbouring churches; and those attached to them 
used generally to ask for our copies for the correction of their 
o\vn 2." 
The second question cannot be answered so readily. \Ve 
must begin by examining, in some detail, the expressions used 
to denote furniture in the various documents that deal with 
conventual libraries. 
S. Pachomius places his books in a cupboard (fenestra): 
S. Benedict uses only the general term, library (bibliotltaa), 
which may mean either a room or a piece of furniture; and 
the word press (armarium), with which we become so familiar 
afterwards, does not make its appearance till near the end 
of the cle\'enth century. Lanfranc does not use it, but as 

I This couplet, written on the Ay-lear or a 'IS. in the library or the l"nÏ\er
ily of 
Camhridge (llh. \'I. II). was pointed out to me by my rriend F. J. II. Jenkinson, 
· lIerimanni liber de re
lauratione S. 'lartini Tomacensi.: ap. I'ertz, .11011. 
G,'rm. XIV. .

c. L. 





I have shewn that he based his statutes, at least to some 
extent, on the CIuniac Customs, and as they identify the library 
(bibliolhcca) with the press (arlllarÙ/lIl), and call the librarian, 
termed by Lanfranc the keeper of the books, the keeper of the 
press (armarius), we may safely assume that the books to 
which Lanfranc refers were housed in a similar piece of 
furniture. MoreO\,"er, in Benedictine houses of ]ater date, as 
for instance at Abingdon and Evesham, the word is constantly 
I pointed out in the first chapter that the word press 
(armariu1Jl) was used by the Romans to signify both a detached 
piece of furniture and a recess in a wall into which such a 
contrivance might be inserted 1. The same use obtained in 
medieval times
, and the passage quoted above from the 
Augustinian customs 3 shews that the book-press there contem- 
plated was a recess lined with wood and subdivided so as 
to keep the books separate. 
The books to be accommodated in a monastery, even of 
large size, could not at its origin have been numerous4, and 
would easily have been contained in a single receptacle. This, 
I conceive, was that recess in the wall which is so frequently 
found between the Chapter-House and the door into the 
church at the end of the east pane of the cloister. In many 
monastic ruins this recess is still open, and, by a slight effort 
of imagination, can be restored to its pristine use. Elsewhere 
it is filled in, having been abandoned by the monks themselves 
in favour of a fresh contrivance. The recess I am speaking 
of was called the common press (armariu1/l C01ll1/l/l1le), or 
common cloister-press (cOlll1llll11e armarium claustri); and it 
contained the books appointed for the general use of the 
community (COlll1JlllllCS liórz). 
A press of this description (fig. 19) is still to be seen in 
excellent preservation at the Cistercian monastery of Fossa 

uova in Central Italy, near Terracina, which I visited in 

1 See above, p. 3i. 
2 See Dictiomtaire tiu lilobilier, par Henri Havard, s. v. Armoire, and the 
passages there quoted. 3 Se
 abo\ e, p. i I. 
4 The Cistercian Customs prescribe the possession of nine volumes at least, chieAy 
service-boo!"s, before a house can be founded. DOCllllt<llts, p. '2;"3. 




the spring of 19QO. This house may be dated 1187-1208'. 
The press is in the west wall of the south transept (fig. 21 ), close 
to the door leading to the church. It measures 4 ft. 3 in. wide, 
by 3 ft. 6 in. high; and is raised 2 ft. 3 in. above the floor of 
the cloister. It is lined with slabs of stone; but the hinges 

1-1- 1 
;1ïi f /' -'--' J\-t ' , 
 'I'" - 

' ;:::-"r 
 "" ',' I <
 5-"1 \ 
-r: - ' 
. ."
";, ' II'" . 

















Fig. Ig. Press in the cloister at the Cistercian Abbey of Fossa Nuova. 

are not strong enough to have carried doors of any material 
heavier than wood; and I conjecture that the shelf also was 
of the same material. Stone is plentiful in that part of Italy, 
but wood, especially in large pieces, would have to be brought 
from a distance. Hence its removal, as soon as the cupboard 
was not required for the purpose for which it was constructed. 

, OriJ;;"u Fra"faisu tú r Archi/
n llalÙ, par G. Enlart, 8\"0. 
Paris, IR9+. p. '}. This valuahle work contains a {ull and accurate description, 
copiou,ly illustrated, uf Fo"a Xlluva and other abbeys in rcmotc parts o{ Italy. 




[ CHAP. 

Two recesses, evidently intended for the same purpose, are 
to be seen in the east walk of the cloister of \Vorcester 
Cathedral, formerly a Benedictine monastery. They are between 
the Chapter-House and the passage leading to the treasury and 
other rooms. Each recess is square-headed, 6 ft. 9 in. high, 2 ft. 
6 in, deep, and I I ft. broad (fig. 20). In front of the recesses is 



 2 :;t ... ft 

Fig. 20. Groundplan and elevation of the book-recesses in the cloister of 
Worcester Cathedral. 

a bench-table, 13 in. broad and 16 in. high. This book-press ,vas 
in use so late as 1518, when a book bought by the Prior was 
"delyvered to ye cloyster awmeryl." 
As books multiplied ampler accommodation for them became 
necessary; and, as they were to be read in cloister, it was 
obvious that the new presses or cases must either be placed in 
the cloister or be easily accessible from it. The time had not 
yet come when the collection could be divided, and be placed 
partly in the cloister, partly in a separate and sometimes distant 
room. This want of book-room was supplied in two ways. In 
Benedictine and possibly in Cluniac houses the books were 
stored in detached wooden presses, which I shall describe pre- 
sently; but the Cistercians adopted a different method. At the 
beginning of the twelfth century, when that Order was founded, 
the need of additional book-space had been fully realised; and, 
consequently, in thcir houses we meet with a special room set 
apart for books. But the conservative spirit which governed 
monastic usage, and discouraged any deviation from the lines of 
the primitive plan, made them keep the press in the wall close 
to the door of the church; and, in addition to this, they cut off 
1 7'Iz..1IlolZastery alld Cathedral oj 
Vorcester, by John Noake, Lond., 1866, p. 4q. 




a piece from the west end of the sacristy, which usually inter- 
vened between the south transept and the Chapter-House, and 
fitted it up for books. This was done at Fossa 
uova. The 
groundplan (fig. 2 r) shews the press which I have already 
figured, and the book-room between the transept and the 












. OP ..., 

Fig. 21. Groundplan of part of the Abbey of Fossa Nuova. 

To shew the book-room and book-press, and their relations 1.0 adjoining ...tructures: partly from 
l\1. Enlarr.'5 work, partly from my own me1.<iiuremenh. 

Chapter-House, adjoining the sacristy. It is 14 ft, long by 
10 ft. broad, with d recess in its north wall which perhaps once 
contained another press. 
There is a similar book-room at Kirkstall Abbey near Leeds, 
built about 1 I 50. The pldn (fig. 22, ,\) shews its relation to 
the adjoining structures. The armarium com/JlIllle (ibid. B) is a 




little to the north of the room, as at Fossa Nuova. A room in a 
similar position, and destined no doubt to the same use, is to be 

':' ::.:: 


.....-- - 
.-; - --- 


I '. .' : 1 

. " 
'. '.. 
. '. . 




.' ".

" ,I 
: .. '" '...Ð.
,,, :,,:' 
", ,II , 
...---- .,
--- .. \ :

: '

"ø:: )'IoUs.'E 
. :
.:" . , ' 
ti,. .,
,,, '-t .. .' " . 


I :]I
R, III I? 110 2 1 0 
o 4[0 



. Groundplan of part of Kirkstall Abbey, Yorkshire. 
A, book-room: B, arllltlriulJl COlllllllllle. 

seen at Beaulieu, Hayles, J ervaulx, ]'\ etley, Tintern, Croxden, 
and Roche. 
The catalogue of the books at the Abbey of Meaux in 
Holderness', founded about the middle of the 12th century, has 
fortunately been preserved; and it tells us not only what books 
were kept in one of these rooms, but how they were arranged. 
After the contents of the presses in the church, which contained 
chiefly service-books, we come to the "common press in the 
cloister (commune allllariltlll claltstri)." On the shelf over the 

, Chr01zim 1l101lasterii de ,
lelsa. RoIls Series, Yo\. III. App. p. b.xxiii. 




door (ill suprema tfuca' supra ostillm) were four psalters. The 
framer of the catalogue then passes to the opposite end of the 
room, and, beginning with the top shelf (suprema theca opþosita), 
enumerates 37 volumes_ :\'ext, he deals with the rest of the 
books, which, he tells us, were in other shelves, marked with 
the Idters of the alphabet (ill aliis thccis distÙzclis per alpha- 
bt'/lIm). If I understand the catalogue correctly, there were 
eleven of these divisions, each containing an average of about 
25 volumes. The totdl number of volumes in the collection 
was 316. 
Again, the catalogue of the House of \\'hite Canons at 
Titchficld in Hampshire, dated 1400, shews that the books 
were kept in a small room, on sets of shelves called COlll/Jlpllæ, 
set against the waIls. The catalogue begins as folIows: 
There are in the Library at T} chefeld four cases to set books on ; 
two of which, namely the fir!>t and the second, are on the eastern !>ide. 
The third is on the south side; and the fourth is on the north side. 
Each of these has cight shelves [ete.]2. 
:\lor was this book-closet confined to Cistercian Houses. In 
the Cluniac Priory at J.luch \\"enIock in Shropshire there is a 
long narrow room on the west side of the south transept, opening 
to the cloister by three arche<;, \\ hich could hardl) ha\"e been put 
to any other purpose, It is obvious that no study could ha\-e 
gone forward in such places; they must have been intended for 
security only. 
. \s time \\ ent on, and further room for books became ne- 
cessary, it was provided, at least in some Cistercian Houses, by 
cutting off t\\ 0 rectangular spaces from the \\ est end of the 
Chapter-House" There is a good example of this treatment to 
be seen at Furness Abbey, built 1150-1200. The folIowing 
description is borro\\ed from l\Ir \\'. II. St John Hope's 
architectural history of the buildings. 

, The word th
ca signified in classical Latin a case or receptacle in which any 
object wa, kept. In medieval I alin it \\a 'l'ecially u,ed (fide Ducaoge) for Ihe 
I in whieh the Lodi
 or bone<; or relics of saini!> \\ere kept. In this calalogue it 
i" ob\ ious Ihal iI !nay mean eiIher a ,helf or a cupboard. 
· Sunt enim in libraria de Tychefeld quatuor columpn.c pro lihri, imponendis, unde 
in orientali fronte due sunt videlicet prima et secunda. In latere vero ausIrali e,1 
lerc;a_ n in later" boreali e,1 quarta. Et earum "ingule octo hahent gradu, [etc.]. 




From the transept southwards the whole of the existing work is of 
later date, and distinctly advanced character. The ground storey is 
pierced with five large and elaborate round-headed doorways with good 
moldings and labels, with a delicate dog-tooth ornament. Three of 
these next the transept form a group.... 
The central arch opened, through a \'estibule, into the Chapter 
House. The others open into large square recesses or chambers, with 
ashlar walls, and ruhble barrel-vaults springing from chamfered imposts 
on each side. In the northern chamber the vault is kept low and 
segmental, on account of the passage above it of the darter stair to the 
church....The southern chamber has a high pointed vault. Neither 
chamber has had doors, but the northern has holes in the inner jamb, 
suggestive of a grate of some kind, of uncertain date. 
The chambers just described probably contained the library, in 
wooden presses arranged round the walls'. 

To illustrate this description a portion of Mr Hupe's plan of 
Furness Abbey (fig. 23) is appendçd. Each room was about 
13 f t. square. 

 --- -- - ' ---- O ------ l! 
---- ------ - ------ 
---- --- - - ---- 
=õõ=_, --

=- _ . - __ -:.





:X__-; _ 



- ::xr:-_- 

------ ------ 
------- . ----- ---- 


' , 
--------------------- - ------- 
3. Groundplan of part of Furness Abbey. 

Rooms in a similar position are to be seen at Calder Abbey
in Cumberland, a daughter-house to Furness; and at Fountains 

, Trans. Cumb. and If/est. Antiq. and Archæol. Soc. Vol. XVI. p. '259. I take this 
opportunity of thanking my friend Mr Hope for alIowing me to use his plan ûf 
Furness Abhey, and also for pointing out to me the evolution of the Cistercian 
book-rooms" hich I have done my best to describe in the text. 
, Ca/d'r AMI!}': its Rliins and Jts HistoJ)'_ By A. G. Loftie, :\I.A. 



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Fig. 24. Arches in south wall of Church at Beaulieu Abbey, Hampshire. 
once possibly used as book-presses 




Abbey there are clear indications that the western angles of the 
Chapter-House were partitioned off at some period subsequent 
to its construction, probably for a similar purpose. As the 
Chapter-House was entered from the cloister through three 
large round-headed arches, each of the rooms thus formed 
could be entered directly from the cloister, the central arch 
being reserved for the Chapter-House itsel( The arrangement 
therefore became exactly similar to that at Furness. :\Ir Hope 
thinks that the series of arches in the church wall at Beaulieu in 
Hampshire, t\\O of which are here shewn (fig. 24), may ha\'e 
been used for a like purpose l . There is a similar series of 
arches at Hayles, a daughter-house to Beaulieu; and in the 
south cloister of Chester Cathedral there are six receSSeS of 
early Xorman design, which, if not sepulchral, may once ha\'e 
contained books. 
The use of the Chapter-House and its neighbourhood as the 
place in which books should be kept is one of the most curious 
features of the Cistercian life. The east walk of the cloister, 
into which the Chapter-House usually opened, must ha\.e been 
one of the most frequented parts of the House, and r et it seems 
to have been deliberately chosen not merely for keeping books, 
but for reading them. At Clain'aux, so late as 'ïCXJ, the 
authors of the Voyage Lilt/mire record the following ar- 
Le grand c1oitrc.. .est \"Outé et "itré. Les religieux y doivent garder 
un perpetud silence. 1 )ans Ie côté du chapitre il y a des livres 
enchaincz sur des pupitres de bois, dans lesquels les religieu\. peu\ent 
venir faire des lectures lorsqu'ils \-eulent2. 
A similar arrangement obtained at Citeaux'. 
Having traced the development of the Cistercian book-closet, 
from a simple recess in the wall to a pair of more or less spacious 
rooms at the west end of the Chapter-House, I return to my 
starting-point, and proceed to discuss the arrangcment adopted 

rr rIope tells me that he has lately re-examined the,e recesses, and failed to 
di'iCO\er traces offumiture or finings of any kind" iIhin Ihem. 
2 V"}'ag
. Paris, 1717, Vol. I. p. 101. 
I Cal. dts .lla"uscrils d
s Bi6liothb/lles F"bli'l"ts d J leparIlillenls, 
Tom. v. C"ltalogue de- 'Ianuscrits de Cileaux. Ku. 6.'1:' II'. 4 0 :,). Panus lio.,r 
mcathenatu, ad analogiulll Lathedre e" Oppu_iIu capiIuli. 




by the Benedictines. They must have experienced the incon- 
venience arising from want of space more acutely than the 
Cistercians, being more addicted to study and the production of 
books. They made no attempt, however, to provide space by 
structural changes or additions to their Houses, but were 
content with wooden presses in the cloister for their books, and 
small wooden studies, called carrells, for the readers and writers. 
The uniformity which governed monastic usage was so strict 
that the practice of almost any large monastery may be taken 
as a type of what was done elsewhere. Hence, when we find a 
full record of the way in which books were used in the great 
Benedictine House at Durham, we may rest assured that, 
mil/a/is Illlt/mldis, we have got a good general idea of the 
whole subject. I will therefore begin by quoting a passage 
from that valuable work The Rites of Durham, a description of 
the House drawn up after the Reformation by some one who 
had known it well in other days, premising only that it repre- 
sents the final arrangements adopted by the Order, and takes no 
account of the steps that led to them. 
In the north syde of the Cloister, from the COrner m-er against the 
Church dour to the corner over againste the] >orter dour, was all fyndy 
glased from the hight to the sole \\ithin a litle of the grownd into the 
Cloister garth. And in every wyndowe iij Pewes or CarrdIs, where 
everyone of the old Monks had his carrell, severall by himselfe, that, 
when they had dyned, they dyd resorte to that place of Cloister, and 
there studyed upon there books, everyone in his carrell, all the after 
nonne, unto evensong tyme. This was there exercise every daie. 
All there pewes or carrells was all fynely wainscotted and verie close, 
all but the forepart, which had carved wourke that gave light in at ther 
carrell doures of wainscott. And in every carrell was a deske to lye 
there bookes on. And the carrells was no greater then from one 
stanch ell of the wyndowe to another. 
And over against the carrells against the church wall did stande 
certaine great almeries [or cupbordsJ of waynscott all full of bookes, 
wherein did lye as well the old auncyent written Doctors of the Church 
as other prophane authors with dyverse other holie mens wourks, so 
that everyone dyd studye what Doctor pleased them best, havinge the 
Librarie at all tymes to goe studie in besydes there carrells'. 
At Durham the monastic buildings stood to the south of 
the church, and the library-walk of the cloister was that 
walk, or alley, or pane, or syde (for all these words are 

I Th" Rites of Durhtllll, ed. SUTtees Suc. J8ii. p. ,0, 



9 1 

used), which had the church to the north of it. The library 
was placed there partly for the sake of warmth, partly to secure 
greatcr privacy. .-\t Canterbury and at Gloucester, where the 
church was to the south of the conventual buildings, the library- 
walk of the cloister was still the walk next to the church, the 
other walks, as :\Ir Hope has pointed out to me, being apparently 
kept clear for the Sunday procession. 
I propose to explain the system indicated in the above 
quotation by reference to a plan of the cloister at \Vestminster 
Abbey, drawn by my friend :'IIr J. T. :\Iicklethwaite (fig. 25)1, 


S Aisle of ChurCh 
 ;ï' ';
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2 ."tIt =-r=rr-n 
II .... 
.. II.'. 
11 ..... 
 - : J" O r O PAS 


 I Uillill' HOUSE 

_I :I I- I = I- I 
 ' J · :'I'-o
ole\.- Ij over thIS 
reaSUI , 



Fig. 25. The cloister, Westminster Abbey. 
From III. lIIicklelhwaile's plan ofthe building.. 

and by quotations from his notes upon it. At Durham every 
vestige of ancient arrangement has been so completely de- 
stroyed that it is better to go to another House, where less 
mischief has becn done, and it happens fortunately that, so far 
as the position of the cloister with reference to the church is 
concerned, \\'estminster is the exact counterpart of Durham. I 
will consider first the last parat;raph of my quotation from the 

I ,\', tf< on th
)' RuiUim[s 0/ 11'; rtminster, .\rch. Journ. '\ '\ XIII. PI" I !'-




Rites of Durham, that namely which deals with the presses for 
books, there called H almeries or cupbords." 
Mr l\1icklethwaite shews that the two bays at the north end of 
the west walk of the cloister, and the second bay from the west 
in the north walk (fig. 25, nos. I, 2,4), were appropriated to the 
novices, by the existence of several sets of nine holes, evidently 
cut by boys in their idle moods for the playing of 
ome game. 
Similar holes have been found at Canterbury, Gloucester, and 
elsewhere. ).Text he points out that "the nosing of the walI- 
bench for six feet of the third bay from the west in the north 
walk, and in the whole of the fourth and fifth bays, and nearly 
all the sixth, has been cut away flush with the riser, as if some 
large pieces of furniture had been placed there (ibid. nos. 5, 5, 
5, 5). These were evidently bookcases." Eastward of these 
indications of bookcases" the bases of the vaulting-shafts are 
cut in a way which seems to shew that there was a double 
screen there (ibid. nos. 6, 6), or perhaps there were bookcases 
arranged so as to form a screen, which is, I think, very likely. 
Beyond this screen to the right are appearances in the wall 
[next the cloister-garth] which seem to indicate a blocked-up 
locker, but they are rather doubtful. And on the left is a large 
double locker blocked (ibid. ï), and the blocking appears to be 
ancient. This locker is of the date of the wall (Edw. 1.), and 
may have been an additional book-closet provided, because that 
on the other side of the church-door [to be described presently] 
had become too small, and [was] blocked up when the larger 
bookcases were made opposite the can-ells]." 
Lastly, at the risk of some repetition, I will quote a passage 
from a letter which l\Ir Micklethwaite was so good as to write 
to me on this subject, as it brings out some additional points, 
and states the whole question with great clearness. After 
describing the position of the bookcases, he proceeds: 

There was thus a space, the width of the bench, between the back 
of the case and the cloister-wall. which would help to keep things dry. 
Whether the floor wa
 boarded we cannot now tell, but there is evidence 
that this part of the cloister was cut off from the rest by screens of some 
sort at both ends, which would make it a long gallery lighted on one 
side, and with bookcases ranged along the other, not unlike Wren's at 

1 Notes {)II the Abbey Buildings if HÍ!,tmimter, Arch. Journ. XX:\I1I. pp. 21, 22. 




Lincoln. The \\indO\\s must have been glaæd; indeed remains of the 
glazing existed to the end of the 17th century; and there were \\ ithin 
my memory marks of fittings along the windows-side which I did not 
then understand, but \\hich, if they still existed, would I have no douht 
ten us something of the carre/Is. .\" thorough restoration" has taken 
away every trace of them. 

The "bookcase on the other side of the church door" 
mentioned above was in the northernmost bay of the east 
cloister. l\lr 
licklethwaite says of it: 
"Entering the cloister from the church by the east cloister 
door (ibid. no. 8), we find on our left hand a very broad 
bench against the wall, extendin
 as far as the entrance to 
the Chapter-House (ibid. 10). In the most northern bay the 
wall-arcade, instead of being brought down by shafts as in 
the others, is stopped off at the springing by original bracket
as if to allow of some large piece of furniture being placed 
against the wall. Here, I believe, stood in the thirteenth 
century the armarium COlli l1/ltl/C. or common bookcase (ibid. 9). 
At Durham there is a :'J"orman ,iTched recess in the same place, 
not mentioned by the writer of the Rites, because before his 
time its use had ceased, books having become more numerous, 
and being provided for elsewhere 1 ." 
These notes enable us to imagine what this library was like. 
I t was about 80 feet long by 15 feet broad, extending along four 
L.lYs of the cloister. It was cut off by a screen at one end, and 
possibly at the other also; the book-presses stood against the 
wall, opposite to the windows, which were probably glazed, as 
we know those at Durham were; and there might ha \'e been 
a wooden floor. Furthcr, the older monks sat in "carrclls," as 
we learn from the custumary of .\bbat \Vare, who was in office 
1258-83. The \\ riter is speaking of the novices, and golYS that 
after they have attained a certain degree of proficiency they 
may sit in cloister, and" be allowed to glance at books taken 
out of the presses (armaria) belonging to the older monks. 
But they must not be permitted as yet to write or to have 
carrells 2 ," 
\Vhatever may have been the di-;comfort of this library 

1 Nola Oil Ih
 Ah"'" BIIlJdillgs of IV(SII/I"u/
r, Arch. JUllrn. xx XIII. p. Jr.. 

 :\ISS. :\l\l
. Brit. \ISS. Colton, Olho, C. XI. fnJ. 




[ CHAP. 

according to our ideas, there is good reason for believing that 
it was in use till 1591, when Dean \\'illiams fitted up part of 
the Dorter as a library for the use of the Dean and 
The practice of placing the book-press in the cloister 
obtained with equal force in France, for the Benedictines who 
wrote the Vo}'age Lilllraire, and who would of course be well 
acquainted with what was usual in their own Order, remark 
with surprise when they visit the ancient abbey of Cruas on 
the Rhone, that the press is in the church. 

On voit encore dans l'cg1ise l'armoire où on enfermoit les lines, 
contre 1a coûtume des autres monastères de l'ordre, qui avoient cette 
armoire dans Ie cloître. On y lit ces vers d'un caractère qui peut avoir 
cinq cent ans : 

Pastor jejunal qui libros non coadunat 
Kec panem præbet subjectis quem dare debet 2 . 

A shepherd starves \\ hose store of books is low: 
Kor can he on his flock their due bestow. 

No example of an English book-press has survived, so far 
as I know, but it would be rash to say that none exists; nor 
have I been so fortunate as to find one in France, though I have 
taken a great deal of pains to obtain information on the subject. 
In default of a press made specially to hold books, I must content 
myself with representations of two well-known pieces of furniture 
-both preserved in French churches. 
The first (fig. 26) stands in the Upper sacristy of the Ca- 
thedral of Bayeux, over the south transept. The name usually 
given to it, Ie Char/ria de Ba)lC/{x, implies that it was made to 
hold documents. 1\1. Viollet-le-Duc does not accept this view, 
but consiòers that it contained reliquaries, with which he probably 
would not object to associate other articles of church-plate. 
It is of oak, very coarse, rough, and massive. It is 9 ft. 
3 inches high, from floor to top, 17ft. 2 inches long-(it was 
originally 3 ft. longer)-and 3 ft. deep. There are two rows of 
cupboards each 3 ft. 8 inches high, with massive doors that still 

, See a paper by myself in Camb. Allt. Soc. Froc. <llld COlIllll. IX. pp. +7-5 6 . 
2 Voyage Lilt/lain', ed. '7'7. Part I. 297. 



, , 
I .. 









Fig. 26. Part of the ancient press in Bayeux Cathedral, called 
I, Char/1 i, 1 ",' RtlY,'III". 

Front a photog-raph. 

,I , 
!. . 1 
.... . . \ 
i '. 
'0 j , 
I I 





Fig. 27, Press in the church at Obazine, Central France. 
Front a photograph. 




preserve their original ironwork. The whole piece of furniture 
has once been painted, indications of which still exist, but the 
subjects can no longer be made out. :\1. Viollet-Ie-Duc l , who 
possibly saw the paintings when they were in a better state of 
presen'ation than when I examined them in 1896, decides that 
they once represented the translation of relics. 
I\Iy second example (fig. 27) is in the church of Obazine in 
Central France (Département de la Corrèze). It is far simpler 
and ruder than the press in Bayeux Cathedral; and the style of 
ornamentation employed indicates a somewhat earlier date; 
though l\1. Viollet-Ie-Duc places the construction of both in the 
first years of the 13th century. I t is 6 ft. 7 in. high, by 7 ft. 
broad, and 2 ft. 7 in. deep. The material is oak, which still 
bears a few traces of having once been painted'. 
These pieces of furniture were certainly not made specially 
for books; but, as they belong to a period when the monastic 
system was in full, vigorous, life, it is at least probable that they 
resemble those used by monks to contain their books. I ha\'e 
shewn in the previous chapter that in ancient Rome the press 
used for books was essentially the same as that used for very 
different purposes; and I submit that it is unnecessary to 
suppose that monastic carpenters would invent a special piece 
of furniture to hold books. They would take the Iln1ltl1 ÙtIIl that 
was in daily use, and adapt it to their own purposes. 
Before I leave this part of my subject I must mention that 
there is a third press in the Church of Saint Germain I' Auxerrois, 
Pdris. It stands in a small room over the south end of the 
west porch, which may once have been a muniment room. 
It was probably made about a century later than those which 
I have figured. In arrangement it bears a general resemblance 
to the example from Bayeux. It consists of six cupboards 
arranged in two tiers, the lower of which is raised to the le\'cI 
of a bench which extends along the whole length of the piece of 
furniture, with its ends mortised into those of the cupboards. 

I DÙ:tiollnOlr, "" II/obi/in', s. v. A r"'oir
· Viollet-Ie-Due, tit s"pra, p. 4. where full details of the prc>.S at OLazine are 
given. The photograph from "hich my iIIu,tration has been made wa, 
taken for my u,e Ihrough the I.ind help of my frieHlI Dr Jamc" who had seen the 
pre" in I R9'J. 

9 6 



The seat of this bench lifts up, so as to form an additional 
receptacle for books or papers l . 
The curious wooden contrivances called carrells, which 
are mentioned in the abuve quutation from the Rites of 
Durlwm, have of course entirely disappeared. Nothing is 
said about their height; but in breadth each of them was 
equal to the distance from the middle of one mullion of a 
window to the middle of the next; it was made of wainscot, 
and had a door of open carved work by which it was entered 
from the cloister. This arrangement was doubtless part of 
the systematic supervision of brother by brother that was 
customary in a monastery. Even the aged, though engaged 
in study, were not to be left to their own devices. I have 
carefully measured the windows at Durham (fig. 28); and, 




SCIoL[. t- .à. O 

5 Of' FE tT 

Fig. 28. Groundplan of one of the windows in the cloister of Durham Cathedral. 

though they have been a good deal altered, I suppose the 
mullions are in their original places. If this be so the carrells 
could 110t ha\Te been more than 2 ft. 9 in. wide, and the occupant 
would have found but little room to spare. There are eleven 
windows, so that thirty-three monks could have been accom- 
modated, on the supposition that all were fitted with carrells. 
In the south cluister at Gloucester there is a splendid series 
of twenty stone carrells (fig. 29), built between 1370 and 1412. 

1 Vio\let-Ie-Duc, tit supra, p. q. I have myself examined this press. My friend 
Mr Hope informs me that there is a press of this character in the nether vestry at 
S. Peter l\Iancroft, Norwich, described by him in blvmtories of thi! parish t:hw,:h of 
S. PetL"- J/allcrifi, Non,'Ù"h, Korf. and Korw. Archæol. Soc. XIV. p. 29. 




Each carrell is 4 ft. wide, 19 in. deep, and 6 ft. 9 in. high, lighted 
by a small window of two lights; but as figures do not give a 

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Fig, 29, Range of carrells in the south cloister at Gloucester Cathedral. 
(From IIIr lIIurray's HnNibook to tlu W
sÜr" Cnth..d.."s.J 

very vivid idea of size, and as I could not find anyone else to 
ùo what I wanted, I borrowed a chair from the church and a 
fvlio frum the library, anù dm\ n tu read, as one of the 

C. r. 


9 8 



monks might have done six centuries ago (fig. 30), There is 
no trace of any woodwork appertaining to these carrells; or of 
any book-press having ever stood near them. The easternmost 
carrell, howe,'er, differs a good deal from the others, and it may 
have been used as a book-closet. There is a bench-table along 
the wall of the church opposite to the carrellS; but it does not 
appear to have been cut away to make room for book-presses, 
as at \Vestminster. The south alley appears to have been shut 
off at the east end, and also at the west end, by a screen l . 
This drawing will help us to understand the arrangement 
of the wooden carrells used at Durham and elsewhere. Each 
carrell must have closely resembled a modern sentry-box, with 
this difference, that one side was formed by a light of the window 
]ooking into the cloister-garth, opposite to which was the door 
of entrance. This, I imagine, would be of no great height; and 
moreover was made of open work, partly that the work of the 
occupant might be supervised, partly to let as much light as 
possible pass through into the cloister-library. The seat would be 
on one side of the carrell and the desk on the other, the latter being 
so arranged that the light would enter on the reader's left hand. 
Carrells seem to have been usual in monasteries from very 
early times, not to have been introduced at a comparatively late 
date in order to ensure greater comfort. The earliest passage 
referring to them is that which I have already quoted 2, shewing 
that they were in use at \Vestminster between 1258 and 121)3; 
at Bury S. Edmunds the destruction of the carrells is men- 
tioned among other outrages in a riot in 13273; they occur at 
Evesham between 1367 and 1379'; at Abingdon in 1383-846; 
1 See l\Ir Hope's Notes Oil the BazedictÙle Abbey 0/ S. Peter at Gloucl!Sttr, in 
Records 0/ Glou<"Cster Cathedral, 1897, p. 23. 
2 See above, p. 93. 
3 ftfemorials 0/ S. Edmtuzd's Abbey, Rolls Series, 11.327. The writer is describing 
the mischief done by the rioters of 1327: Deinde claustrum ingressi, cistuIas, id est 
caroles, et armariola fregerunt, et libros et omnia in eis inventa similiter asportaverunt. 
1 owe this quotation to Dr James, Oil the Abbey of S. Edmulld at Bur)', Camb. Ant. 
Soc. Octavo PubI. No. XXVIII. p. 15 8 . 
, Liber Evesham, Hen. Bladshaw Soc. 1893, p. 196. Abbat Ombresleye (13 6 7-79) 
built" paginam iIIam claustri contiguam eccIesie ubi carolæ fratrum consistunt." 
6 Accoullts of the Obedimtmries of AbÙlgdoll Abbey, ed. Camden Society, 18 9 2 , 
p. 4i. "Expense circa sedilia cIaustri" is the heading of an account for wood bought 
and for carpenter's work. The sum spent was t; 2. 15S. 3d. 











Fig. 30. A single carrell. Gloucester Cathedral. 

- -- 




and at Christ Church, Canterbury, it is recorded among the good 
deeds uf Prior SeJlyng (1472-94), that in the south alley of 
the cloister" novos Textus quos Carolos ex novo vocamus 
perdecentes fecit"; words which Professor \\ïJlis renders "con- 
structed there very convenient framed contrivances which are 
now-a-days called caroIsI." Their use-at any rdte in some 
Houses-is evident from an injunction among the Customs of 
S. Augustine's, Canterbury, to the effect that the cellarer and 
others who rarely sit in cloister might not have carrells, nor 
in f,\ct any brother unless he be able to help the community 
by copying or illuminating, or at least by adding musical 
notation 2 . They were in fact devices to provide a certain 
amount of privacy for literary work in I louses where there was 
no ScnþtoriulIl or writing-room. At Durham, according to the 
author of Rites, they were used exclusively for reading. 
The above-mentioned Customs of S. Augustine's, written 
between 13 IO and 1344, give a valuable contemporary picture 
of the organi.lation of one of the more important cluister-libraries. 
The care of the presses is to be entrusted to the Precentor and 
his subordinate, called the Succentor, The former is to have a 
seat in fIont of the press-which doubtless stood against the 
wall-and his carrell is to stand at no great distance, on the 
stone between the piers of the arches next the cloister-garth. 
The Succentor is to have his seat and his carrell on the bcnch 
near the press-by which the bench which commonly ran along' 
the cloister-wdll is obviously meant. These arrangcmcnts are 
madc 'f in order that thcse two officers, or at least one of them, 
may always be at hand to satisfy brethren who make any 
demand upon their time 3 ." In other worùs, they were the 

1 An:h. /list. of th
 COllvmttrn/ Bllildillgs of th.. J/,mnst
ry of CllIist Chlt/ch, 
Cant..rlmry. Dy R. Willi-. 8vo. I oml, 1869, p. 4
2 !\ISS. !\Iu,. Bril. !\ISS. COllon, Faustina, c. XII., fo\. Q9. De \"arulis in daU
 hanc cun,irleradonem hahere <Iehenl quihus cummillitur dau
lri tUlela ut 
,iddicct cclcrariu. 'eu alii fralres qui raru in dau
lro result:nt ,uas \"arulas in daustro 
non habeant, set nec aliqui fmtres nisi in scrihclilio vel iIIuminando aut lanlum 
notando communitali :\ut el sibimet ip
is pruficere sciant. 
3 MSS. Mu,. Brit. l\ISS. COllon, Faustina, c. XII., fol. qs. ...precentorem et 
,uccentorem quibus commillitur armariorum cu,todia. Cantor hah.:"it catheclram 
sualll ante armarium in daustro stantem el carulam suam iuxta desuper lapidem 
inter columpna,. Succcntor veru super 
cannulll iuxta armarium carulam el sedem 




librarian and sub-librarian, who were to be always ready to 
answer questions. It is clear that brethren were not allowed to 
handle the books as they pleased. 
The cloister at Durham, or at least that part of it which was 
used as a library, was glazed; but whether with white glass or 
stained glass we are not informed. So obvious a device for 
increasing both the comfort and the beauty of a much-fre- 
quented part of the monastic buildings was doubtless adopted 
in many other Houses. At Bury S. Edmunds part at least of 
the cloister had "painted windows representing the sun, moon 
and stars and the occupations of the months"; at Christ Church, 
Canterbury, Prior Sellyng (1472-94) .. had the south walk of 
the cloister glazed for the use of the studious brethren"; at 
Peterborough the windows of the cloister 

were all complcat and fair, adorned with glass of excellent pamtmg: 
In the South Cloyster was the History of the Old Testament; In the 
East Cloyster of the New; In the Korth Cloyster the Figures of the 
successive Kings from King Peatla: In the \rest Cloyster was the 
History from the first foundation of the Monastery of King Penda, to 
the restoring of it by King Edgar. Every "indo\\" had at the bottom 
the e"planation of the History thus in Verse '. 

At \Vestminster, as recorded above, traces of the insertion of 
glass have been observed. 
In later times, when regular libraries had been built for the 
monasteries, a special series of portraits occasioI1dlly appeared 
in glass, on a system similar to that worked out in other mate- 
rials in Roman and post-R,oman libraries; and sometimes, in 
other libraries, subjects are to be met with instead of portraits, 
to indicate the nature of the works standing near them. But I 
cannot say whether cloister-glass was e\"er treated in this way. 

suam habebit, ut hii duo vel saltern unus eorum possint semper esse parati ad respon- 
dendum fratribus seruicium petentibus. 
1 History of thl! Church of P It!rbtlrgh. By Symon Gunton: fol. 1686, p. IO.
The author gives the suhjecb and legends of nine windows. I o\\e this quotation to 
the J..indne" uf i\Ir lIupe. 



I' I 
 V the last chapter I attempted to describe the 

 way in which the Monastic Orders provided for 
the safe keeping of their books, so long as their 
..... collections \\.cre not lar b O"cr than could be accom- 

modated in a press or presses in the cloister, or 
in the small rooms used by the Cistercians for 
the same purpose. I have now to carry the investigation a 
step farther, and to shew how books were treated when a 
separate library was built. 
It must not be supposed that an extensÏ\'e collection of 
books was regarded as indispensable in all monastic establish- 
ments. In many Houses, partly from lack of funds, partly from 
an indisposition to study. the books were probably limited to 
those required for the services and for the daily life of the 
brethren. In other places, on the contrary, where the fashion of 
book-collecting had been set from very early days, by some 
abbat or prior more learned or more active than his fellows; 
and \\ here brethren in consequence had learnt to take a pride in 


, ,; 





their books, whether they read them or not, a large collection 
was got together at a date when even a royal library could be 
contained in a single chest of very modest dimensions. For 
instance, when an inventory of the possessions of the Benedictine 
House of S. Riquier near Abbeville \Vas made at the request of 
Louis Ie Débonnaire in 831 A.D., it was found that the library 
contained 250 volumes; and a note at the end of the catalogue 
informs us that if the different treatises had been entered 
separately, the number of entries would have exceeded five 
hundred, as many books were frequent]y bound in a single 
volume. The works in this ]ibrary are roughly sorted under 
the headings Divinity, Grammar, History and Geography, 
Sermons, Service-books'. A similar collection existed at S. Gall 
at the same period". In the next century we find nearly seven 
hundred manuscripts in a Benedictine monastery at Robbio in 
north ItalyS; and nearly six hundred in a House helonging to 
the same order at Lorsch in Germany'. At Durham, also a 
Benedictine House, a catalogue made early in the twelfth 
century contains three hundred and sixty-six titles'; but, as at 
S. Riquier, the number of works probably exceeded six or seven 
These instances, which I have purposely selected from 
different parts of Europe, and which could easily have been 
increased, are sufficient to indicate the rapidity with which 
books could be, and in fact were accumulated, when the taste 
for such collections had once been set. Year by year, slowly 
yet surely, by purchase, by gift, by bequest, by the zeal of the 
staff of writers whom the precentor drilled and kept at work, 
the number grew, till in certain Houses it reached dimensions 
which must have embarrassed those responsible for its bestowal. 
At Christ Church, Canterbury, for instance, the catalogue made 
by Henry de Estria, Prior 1285-r33I, enumerates about r850 
manuscripts 8 . 
It must gradually have become impossible to accommodate 
such collections as these according to the old method, even 
1 Catalogi Bibliothecarum 0I1ti'llli; ed. G. Bekker, 8vo. It!S:;, pp. 2.J-28. 
· Ibid., pp. 43-53. 3 Ibùl., pp. 64-i3- 
· Ibid. p. 82-120. 
· Catalogi Vderes Libronllli Eat. Cath. Dlmelm., ed. Surtees Soc. 1 S3S, pp. 1-10 
" See a letter by Dr :\1. R. Jallle
 ill Tht'<l1t, 18 May, rSyK 



10 3 

supposing it was desirable to do so. There were doubtless 
many dup]icates, and manuscripts of value requiring special 
care. Consequently we find that places other than the cloister 
were used to keep books in. At Durham, for instance, the 
catalogues made at the end of the fourteenth century enumerate 
( I) " the books in the common press at Durham in sundry places 
in the cloister" (386 volumes)1; (2)" the books in the common 
press at Durham in the Spendment" (408 volumes)!; (3)" the 
inner library at Durham called Spendment" (8í volumes)3; 
(4) "the books for reading in the frater which lie in the press 
near the entrance to the farmery" (17 volumes)4; (5) "the books 
in the common press of the novices at Durham in the cloister" 
(23 volumes)5. Of the above catalogues the first obviously deals 
with the contents of the great "almeries of wainscot" which 
stood in the cloister; the second and third with the books for 
which no room could be found there, and which in consequence 
had been transferred to a room on the west side of the cloister, 
where wages were paid and accounts settled. In the Rites of 
Durlta1Jl it is termed the treasure-house or chancery. I twas 
divided into two by a grate of iron, behind which sat the officer 
who made the payments. The books seem to have been kept 
partly in the outer half of the room, partly within this grate. 
At Citeaux, the parent-house of the Cistercian order, a large 
and wealthy monastery in Burgundy, the books were still more 
scattered, as appears from the catalogue 6 drawn up by John de 
Cirey, abbat at the end of the fifteenth century, now prescn:ed, 
\\Ìth 3 I 2 of the manuscripts enumerated in it, in the public 
library of Dijon. 
This catalogue, written on vellum, in double columns, with 
initial letters in red and blue alternately, records the titles of 

I Cata/ogi V
teres Lil>ronlm Ecc/. Catll. Dllnelm. Ed. Surtees Soc. 1838, pp. 46- 
;9. This catalogue is dated Easter, 1395. 
2 Il>id. pp. 10-3... Thi, catalogue i
 dated '391. 
3 Il>id. pp. 34-38. Of the ..ame date. 
4 Ibid. pp. 80, 81. The,e volumes are rccorded in the first of the above 
5 Ibid. pp. 81-8... The date i.. '39:". For a description of the Spendment see 
Rites o/l>lIrllalll, ..t supra, p. 7'. 
· I'rinted in C"ta/Ol, lie K""lra/ du ma1lllJo'its t/,.s Ri1>lif'th,"!II' I'IIMi,/1i ./
/""'''' \.3.\') ..;;1. 




rss and printed books; but the number of the latter is 
not great. It is headed: 
Inventory of the books at Citeaux, in the diocese of Chalons, made 
by us, brother John, abbat of the said House, in the year of our Lord 
8o, after we had caused the said books to be set to rights, bound, and 
covered, at a vast expense, by the labour of two and often three binders, 
employed continuously during two years'. 
This heading is succeeded by the following statement: 
And first of the books now standing (e:rÍ5tencilllll) in the library of 
the dorter, which we have arranged as it is, because the room had been 
for a long time useless, and formerly served as a tailory and vestry,...but 
for two years or nearly so nothing or very little had been put there2. 
A bird's-eye view of Citeaux, dated 1674, preserved in the 
Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, shews a small building between 
the Frater and the Dorter, which 1\1. Viollet-le-Duc, who has 
reproduced s part of it, letters" staircase to the dorter." The 
room in question was probably at the top of this staircase, and 
the arrangements which I am about to discuss shew beyond all 
question that the Dorter was at one end of it and the Frater at 
the other. 
There were six bookcases, called benches (bill/cite), evidently 
corresponding to the sedilia or "seats" mentioned in many 
English medie\'al catalogues. The writer takes the bookcases 
in order, beginning as follows: 
ne prima banca inferius versus refectorium (13 \"ols.). 
In 2" linea prime banche superius (17 vo]s.). 
In 2" banca inferius de latcre dormitorii (I8 \"ols.). 
" "superius " " (I 
J n 2" banca inferius de latere rcfectorii (IS vo]s.). 
" " superius " " (18 vols.). 

I Invental ium lihrorum monasterii Cistercii, Cabilonensis dioce,is, f.1.ctum per nos, 
frat rem Johannem, abbatem eiusdem loci, anno Domini millesimo cccc octuagesimo, 
postquam per duos annos continuos labore duorum et sepius trium ligatorum eos,lem 
libros aptari, ligari, et cooperiri, cum magnis sumptihus et expensis fecimus. 
2 Et primo Iihrorum existencium in librm
a donuitorii, quam lIt est disposlIimns, 
cum Jocus ipse prius diu fnisset inutilis et dudnm arti sntorie et 'e,tiario serviebat, 
sicut per aliquas annexas armariorumqne dispo
itiones app:>rebat, sed a 110 annis vel 
circa nichil aut pal"Um ibi fuerat. 
3 Dictio1l1laÙ.e ,-aisOlm( de I'Architecture, I. 2jJ. He ùoes not give the date, hut, 
"hen I examined the original in the Riblioth.'que . \ atiollale, I fonnd it plainly dated 
16j4. It is a most valuable record, a, it shews the monastic buildings, which were 
greatly altered at the heginning of Ihe last century, in their primiti,'e state. 



10 5 

The third and fifth ballche, containing respectively 75 volumes 
and 68 volumes, are described in identical language; but the 
descriptions of the 4th and 6th differ sufficiently to make 
quotation necessary: 
In quarta banca de latere dormitorii (24 vols,). 
" " " refectorii (16 \ oIs.). 
In se"ta hanca de latere dormitorii (25 \"ols.). 
Libri sequentcs sunt in dicta seJ\.ta banea de laterc dormitorii 
inferius sub analogio (38 \"Ols.). 
It seems to me that the first banca was set against the 
Dorter wall, so that it faced the Frater; and that it consisted 
of t\\'o shelves only, the second of which is spoken of as a line 
(linea)'. The second, third, and fifth bt11/che were detached pieces 
of furniture, with two shelves on each side. I cannot explain 
why the fourth is described in such different language. It is 
just possible that only one shelf on each side may ha\'e been 
occupied by books when the catalogue was compiled. I con- 
jecture that the sixth stood against the Frater \\ all, thus facing 
the Dorter, and that it consisted of a shelf, with a desk below it, 
and a second shelf of books below that again. 
Be<;ides thcse cases there were other receptacles for books 
called cupboards (armaria) and also some chests. These are 
noted in the following terms: 

Sccuntur libri existentes in armariis librarie. 
I n primo armario de latcTl
rsus refectorium (36 ,'ols.). 
In secunda armario (53 \"ols.). 
In tertio armaria (24 \"ols.). 
Sequuntur lihri existentes in cofro seu archa ju'\ta gradus a
.1<1 \"e!>tiarium in libr.uia (46 \015.). 
In quadam cista juxta analogium de laterc rdecturii (9 \"015.). 
The total of the :\ISS. stored in this room amounts to 509. 
In addition to these the catalogue next enumerates" Books of 
the choir, church, and cloister (53 "015.); Books taken out of the 
library for the daily use of the convent (29 voI5.); Books chained 
on desks (slIpcr alm/tJgiis) before the Chapter-House (5 ,'ols.); on 
the second desk (5 vols.); on the third desk (4 "015.); on the 
fifth desk (4 vols.); Books taken out of the library partly to be 

, ,,'j,h this use of the \\on] Iill a may he comparerl the \\ "nl rnJ'l'II, no\\ "
"-Ctl in France for a 
hclf, e'pecially a Look-,helr. 




placed in the cloister, partly to be divided among the brethren 
(27 vols.); Books on the small desks in the cloister (5 vols.); 
Books to be read publicly in convent or to be divided among 
the brethren for private reading (99 vo]s.)." These diffcrent 
collections of l\1SS., added together, make a total of 740 
volumes, which seem to have been scattcred O\:er the House, 
wherever a spare corner could be found for them. 
The inconvenience of such an arrangement, or want of 
arrangement, is obvious; and it must have caused much 
friction in the House. \Ve can imagine thc officcr in chdrge 
of the finances resenting the intrusion of his brother of the 
library with an asperity not wholly in accordance with fraternal 
charity. And yet, so strong is the tendency of human nature 
to put up with whatever exists, rather than be at the troub]e 
of changing it, no effectual steps in the way of remedy 
were taken until the fifteenth century. In that century, 
howcver, we find that in most of the large monasteries a 
spccial room was constructed to hold books. Reading went 
forward, as heretofore, in the cloister, and I concei,,'e that the 
books stored in the ncw library were mainly intended for loan 
or for reference. As at Durham, the monks could go there 
when they chose. 
These conventual libraries were usually built ovcr some 
existing building, or ovcr the cloistcr. Sometimes, especially 
in France, the library appears as an additional storey added 
to any building with walls strong enough to bear it; somc- 
times again as a detached building. I will cite a few examples 
of libraries in thcse different positions. 
A t Christ Church, Canterbury, a library, about 60 ft. long 
by 22 ft. broad, was built by Archbishop Chichele between 1414 
and 1443, over the Prior's Chapel], and \ViIliam Sellyng (l)rior 
1472-1494) "adorned [it] with beautiful wainscot, and also 
furnished it with certain volumes chicfly for the use of those 
addicted to study, whom he zealous]y and generously encouraged 
and patronised 2 ." 

1 Godwin, De PræslIlj{",s AlZgliu, ed. Richardson, I. 126. 
2 Anglia Sacra, I. qS. Librariam etiam supra Capelbm Prioris situatam 
perpulcrâ cælaturâ adornavit, quam etiam nonnullis libri
 inslaurari fecit, ad usum 
ma"imè literarum studiis deditorum. quos mira Mudio et bene,'olent;" nutri,il et fovit. 



10 7 

.-\t Durham Prior \\Tessyngton, about 
thoroug-hly repaired and refitted 
a room over the old sacristy, 
between the Chapter-House and 
the south Transept, or, a<; the 
Rites say, "betwixt the Chapter 
House and the Te Deum wyn- 
dowe, being well replenished with 
auld written Docter<; and other his- 
tories and ecclesiasticall writers I." 
\\Tessyngton',> work must ha,,-e 
been extensive and thorough, for 
it cost, including the repairs of 
the books, J;go. 16s. od,2-at least 
J;IIOO or J;1200 at the present 
\.alue of money. The position of 
this library will be understood 
from the illustration (fig. 3]). 
The room is 44 ft. 10 in. long, by 
] 8 ft. wide, with a window at each 
end, J 3 ft. wide, of fi ve lights, and 
.1 very rough roof of oak, resting 
on plain stone corbels. 
.-\ t Gloucester the library is 
in a similar position, but the date 
of its construction i<; uncertain, 
[t has been described as follows 
by l\Ir Hope: 

'446, either built or 

. · 


I \1 ' 



..J "'- 
J H 
, I 
..-- ..... 


A'Ji A

.. .... 




The library is an intcresting room 
of fourteenth century date, retaining 
much of its original open roof. The Fig. 31. Library at Durham, built by 
north side ha., e1e\en \\ indows, each Prior Wessyngton about '44 6 . 
of two !>quare-headed lights and per- 
fectly plain.._ [There are no windo\\s on the south side.] The large 
end \\ indows arc late perpendicul.\r, each of SCRI1 lights with a transom. 
There are other alterations, such as the beautiful wooden corbels from 

I Rites of Dw'halJl, p. 26. 
2 IIr
m .trucIura ij fene,trarum in Lihraria lam in opere Iapideo, ferrario et \itriario, 
ac in reparacione leeli de..corum el ij o.liorum. necnnn reparaLione Iihrorum <;e 
cxlendiI ad ilijU",. nj'. cl uhr,l. I/i.t. Dlilldlll. Scri/,Ion< Iru, F.J. Surlce, Soc, 
p. cd",,;;i. 




which the roof springs, which are probably contemporary with the work 
of the cloister when the western stair to the library was built, and the 
room altered. 

At \Vinchester a preciseJy similar position was seJected 
bctween the Chapter-House and the south transept, above a 
passage leading from the cloister to the ground at the south- 
east end of the church. 
At the Benedictine House of S. Albans the library was 
begun in 1452 by John \Vhethamstede, Prior, and completed 
in the following year at the cost of J;1501-a sum which 
represents about 1,2000 at the present day-but the position 
has not been recorded. 
At \Vorcester, also Benedictine, it seems probable that the 
library occupied from very early times the long, narrow room 
over the south aisle of the nave to which it was restored in 1866. 
This room, which extends from the transept to the west end of 
the church, is 130 ft. 7 in. long, 19 ft. 6 in. wide, and 8 ft, 6 in. 
high on the south side. It is lighted by twelve windows, eleven 
of which are of two lights each, and that nearest to the transept 
of three lights. The room is approached by a circular stone 
staircase at the south-west angle of the cathedral, access to 
which is from the outside only2. 
At Bury S. Edmund's abbat William Curteys (1429-45) 
built a library, on an unknown site: but his work is worth 
commemorating, as another instance of the great fifteenth 
century movement in monasteries for providing special rooms 
to contain books. 
At S, Victor, Paris, an Augustinian House, the library was 
built between 1501 and 1508, I believe over the sacristy; at 
Gröncndaal, near Brussels, al<;o Augustinian, it was built O\'er 
the whole length of the north cloister (a distance of 175 feet), so 
that its windows faced the south. 
The Franciscan House in London, commonly called Christ's 
Hospital, had a noble library, founded 21 October, 142 I, by Sir 
Richard \\'hittingtol1, mercer and Lord Mayor of London. By 

1 R
gist. AbbatiæJohawlis fVkethalllstede Abbatis 1Ilona.rtnii sOlidi A/balli it
S1isceptle: ed. II. T. Riley, Rolls Ser. Vol. I. p. 423. 
2 lIist. lllld Allt. of fVorcest
r. By V. Green, 4to. Lond. 1;96. Vol. I. p. ;9. 
The mea'lIrements in the text Were taken hy myself in 1895' 
















",ì '1' r; 

(". ,,' I'.'
n)r}:' 1. lili
 l ìf . li: 
.8 1 , IS , I I ,"" 
" f ' f-' 







:' t 
" J . It It.1 
 f, oF
..of . - / of' 
f .'
ì' I'" - .. 


: ,. 


_ If 

ti ' 

Fig. 32. Library of the Grey Friars House, London, commonly called 
Christ's Hospital. 
From Tro\l()pe'



10 9 

Christmas Day in the following year the building was roofed ill ; 
and before three years were over it was floored, plastered, glazed, 
furnished with desks and wainscot, and stocked with books. 
The cost was ;[556. 16s. 8d.; of which ;[400 was paid by 
Whittington, and the rest by Thomas \Vynchelsey, one of the 
brethren, and his friends I. It extended over the whole of one 
alley of the cloister (fig. 32). Stow tells us that it was 129 ft. 
long, by 3 I ft. broad
; and, according to the letters patent of 
Henry VIII., dated 13 January, 1547, by which the site was 
conveyed to thc City of London, it containeù "28 Desks and 
28 Double Settles of \\'ainscot3." 
I have recountcd the expedients to which the monks of 
Citeaux wcre reduced when thcir books had become too 
numerous for the cloister. I will now describc their pcrmanent 
library. This is shewn in the bird's-cyc view dated 1674 to 
which I have already referred, and also in a second similar view, 
datcd 17 I 8, preserved in the archives of thc town of Dijon \ 
where I had the gooù fortune to discover it in 1894. It is 
accompanied by a plan of the whole monastery, and also by a 
spccial plan 5 of thc library (fig. 35). The buildings had by this 
time bcen a good deal altercd, and partly rebuilt in the classical 
style of the late renaissance; but in thcsc changes the library 
had been respected. I reproduce (fig, 33) the portion of the 
view containing it and thc adjoining structures, together with 
the corresponding ground-plan (fig. 34). 
The authors of the Voyagl." LittÙaz're, Fathers l\Iartène and 
Durand, who visited Citeaux in 1710, thus describe this library: 

I lIIollil/llelittl FIOIlCÙralltl, ed. J. S. Brewer, Rolls 
er. \'01. J. p. 319, from 
a document called .. Prima fundatio fratrum minurum Londoni.c," l\I
S. Cotton, 
V itelIius, F. xii. 
" Stow's Survey, ed. StrYl'e, fol. Lund. I ï 20, Book 3, p. 130. 
· History of CI,rist's Hospital, hy Rev. \Y. rrollol'e, ..tu. Lond. 1H3", ApI'. p. xxiii. 
The view uf the library (fig. 32) is borro\\ed from this work. 
· I have to thank 1\1. Jo
eph Gamier, .c\rchivi,tc du Déparlement, fur hb great 
I-indncss, not only in allo\\ing me 10 examine these precious relics, but in having 
them conveyed to a photographer, and personally superintending a reproduction uf 
them for my use. 
S This plan is not dated, but, from internal evidence, it forms part of the set to 
which the bird's-eye view and the general ground-plan belong. They were taken 
when .. des projets," as the heading call- them, Were being discussed. One of Ihese 
was an increase of the library by the additiun uf a lung gallery at the e3,t end at 
right angles to the uriginal constluctiun. 




Citeaux sent sa gran de maison et son chef d'ordre. Tout y est 
grand, beau et magnifique, mais d'une magnificence qui ne blesse 
point la simplicité religieuse.... 


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Fig. 33. Bird's.eye view of part of the Monastery of Citeaux. 
From a drawing dated 1718. A, library: B, farmery. 

Les trois cloîtres sont proportionnez au reste des bâtimens. Dans 
l'un de ces cloîtres on voit de petites cellules comme à Clervam., lju'on 
appelle les écritoires, parce que les anciens moines y écrivoient des 
lines. La bibliothèque est au dessus; Ie vaisseau cst grand, voûté, et 
bien percé. II y a bon fonds de livres imprimez sur toutes sortes de 
matières, et sept ou huit cent manuscrits, dont la plupart sont des 
ouvrages des pères de l'église '. 
The ground-plan (fig. 34) shews the WrIting-rooms or scrip- 
loria, apparently six in number, eastward of the church; and the 
bird's-eye view (fig. 33) the library built over them. Un- 
fortunately we know nothing of the date of its construction. 
It occupied the greater part of the north side of a cloister called 

1 Voyage Litt.raire de deux Reli,gieux BClldictÙlj, +to. Paris, 171 i, I. 1 9 8 , 22 I. 




"petit cloitre" or Farmer)' Cloister, from the large building on the 


.7Vt3e3 'd", tJ '..9:..,d.
r - þ l
 ;... Jð 
....Ol-'C.-' de. 1 Jl-c.d.s et dc. 1 nJ 

Fig. 34. Ground-plan of part of the Monastery of Citeaux. 
From a plan dated 1718. 

east side originally built as a Farmery (fig. 33, B). It was ap- 
proached by a newel-stair at its south-west corner (fig. 35). This 
 l /' (:I... . 

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Fig. 35. Ground-plan of the Library at Citeaux, 





stair gave access to a vestibule, in which, on the west, was a 
door leading into a room called small library (petite bibliothèqltc), 
apparently built over one of the chapels at the east end of the 
church (fig. 34). The destination of this room is not known. The 
library proper was about 83 feet long by 25 feet broad" vaulted, 
and lighted by six windows in the north and south walls. There 
was probably an east window also, but as explained above, it 
was intended, when this plan was drawn, to build a new galIery 
for books at this end of the older structure. 
I proceed next to the library at Clairvaux, a House which 
may be called the eldest daughter of Citeaux, hdving been 
founded by S. Bernard in J I 15. This library was built in a 
position precisely similar to that at Citeaux. namely, eastward 
of the church, on the north side of the second cloister, over the 
Scriptoria. Begun in 1495, it was completed in J 503; and was 
evidently regarded as a work of singular beauty, over which the 
House ought to rejoice, for the building of it is commemorated 
in the following stanzas written on the first leaf of a catalogue 
made between 1496 and J 509, and now preserved in the library 
at Troyes': 

La construction de cette librairie. 
'adis se fist cette construction 
.Par bons oU\Tiers subtill: et plains de sens 
L'an qu'on disoit de l'incarnation 
Nonante cinq avec mil quatre cens. 
Et tant y fut besongnié de courage 
En pierre, en bois, et autre fourniture 
Qu'après peu d'ans achevé fut louvrage 
1\Iurs et piliers et voulte et couverture. 
Puis en apres l'an mil v" et trois 
Y furent mis les lines des docteurs: 
Le doux Jésus qui pendit en la croix 
Doint paradis au" dévotl: fondatcurs. 
\Ve fortunately possess a minute description of Clairvaux, 
written, soon after the completion of the new library, by the 
secretary to the Queen of Sicily, who came there 13 July, 15 1 7, 
1 I ha\'e taken I toise=6'39 feet. 
" I have to thank 1\[. Léon Dorez, of the Bibliothèque Kationale, Paris, for 
kindly lending me his transcript of this catalogue, and for continual help in all my 




and was taken, apparently, through every part of the monasteryl. 
The account of the library is as follows: 

Et de ce même costé [dudit cloistre] sont xiiii estudes où les 
religieulx escripvent et estudient, lesquelIes sont très belIes, et au 
dessus d'icelIes estudes est la neufve librairerie, à laquelIe I'on va par 
une vis large et haulte estant audict cloistre, laquelIe librairie contient 
de longeur Ixiii passées, et de largeur xvii passées. 
En icclle y a quarante huic banctz, et en chacun banc quatre 
poulpitres fournys de livres de touttes sciences, et principallement en 
théolugie, dont la pluspart desdicts livres sont en parchemin et escript à 
la main, richement historiez et enluminez. 
L'édiffice de ladicte librairie est magnificque et massonnée, et bien 
esclairé de deux costez de belIes grandes fenestres, bien vitrés, ayant 
regard sur ledict c10istre et cimitière des Abbcz. La couverture est de 
plomb et semblablement de ladite église et c1oistre, et tous les pilliers 
bouttans d'iceulx édiffices couverts de plumb. 
J e devant d'icelIe librairie est moult richement orné et entaillé par 
Ie bas de collunnes d'estranges façons, et par Ie hault de riches feuilIaiges, 
pinacles et tabernacles, garnis de grandes ymaiges, qui décorent et 
embclissent ledict édifice. La vis, par laquelIe on y monte, est à six 
pans, larges pour y monter trois hommes de front, et couronné à I'entour 
de c1eres voyes de massunerie. Ladicte librairerie est toute pavée de 
petits carreaulx à diver
es figures. 
It will be interesting to place by the side of this description 
a second, written nearly two hundred years later, by the authors 
of the Voyage Litkraire, who visited Clairvaux in the spring 
of 1709: 

Le grand c1oÎtre.. .est voûté et vitré. Les religieux y doivent garder 
un perpétuel silence. Dans Ie côté du chapitre il y a des livres 
enchaÎnez sur des pupitres de bois, dans lesquels les religieux peuvent 
venir faire des lectures lorsqu'ils veulent.... 
I)u grand cloître on entre dans Ie c10ître du colloque, ainsi appellé, 
parce qu'il est perm is aux religieux d'y parler. 11 y a dans ce c10Ître 
dOULe ou quinze petites cellules tout d'un rang, où les religieux écrivuient 
autrefois des livres; c'est pourquoy on les appelIe encore aujourd'hui les 
écritoires. Au-dessus de ces cellules est la bibliothèque, dont Ie 
vaisseau cst grand, voûté, bien percé, et rempli d'un grand nombre de 
manuscrits, attache7 avec des chaÎnes sur des pupitres, mais il y a peu 
de livres imprimez 2 . 

The plan of the substruction of this ncw library, as shewn on 

J Printed in Didron, AllIlales An:nt!ologitjlles, lR.
5, 11[. 218. The article is 
entitled: VII gralld II/ollastère all XVI"'" siède. I 0\\ e this reference to my friend 
"Ir W. II. St John Hope, A__i_tant Se::cretary to the Society of Anti'luarie::s. 
2 Voy. Lit(. I. 101, 102. 




the ground-plan of Clairvaux given by Viollet Le Duct, is exactly 
the same as that of Citeaux (fig. 33) but on a larger scale. The 
library itself, as there, was approached by a newel stair at its 
south-west corner. This stair was hexagonal, and of a diameter 
sufficient to allow three men to ascend at the same time. The 
library was of great extent-being about 206 feet long by 
56 feet broad-if the dimensions given in the above account 
be correct, and if I am right in supposing a pace (Passle) to be 
equivalent to a modern mètre; vaulted, and well lighted. The 
Queen's secretary seems to have been specially struck by the 
beauty, the size, and the decoration of the windows. The floor 
was paved with encaustic tiles. 
It will be interesting to note how, in some Houses, the 
library slowly expanded itself, occupying, one after another, 
every coign of vantage-ground. An excellent example of this 
growth is to be found in the abbey of Saint Germain des Près, 
Paris; and fortunately there are several views, taken at different 
periods before the Revolution, on which the gradual extension 
of the library can be readily traced. I append a portion of two 
of these. The first (fig. 36), dated 1687, shews the library over 
the south walk of the cloister, where it was placed in 1555. It 
must not, however, be supposed that no library existed before 
this. On the contrary, the House seems to have had one from 
the first foundation, and so early as the thirteenth century it 
could be consulted by strangers, and books borrowed from it. 
The second view (fig. 37), dated 1724, shews a still further 
extension of the library. It has now invaded the west side 
of the cloister, which has received an upper storey; and even 
the external appearance of the venerable Frater, which was 
respected when nearly all the rest of the buildings were rebuilt 
in a classical style, has been sacrificed to a similar gallery. 
The united ]engths of these three rooms must have been little 
short of 384 feet. This library was at the disposal of all 
scholars who desired to use it. \Vhen the Revolution came it 
contained more than 49,000 printed books, and 7000 manu- 
scripts 2 . 

1 Dictiomzaire de r Ardlitecture, I. 26 7. 
2 For the history of this library see Bouil\art's work cited at the foot of Fig. 37 ; 
and Franklin, A1lcienms Bib/iothè<jlles de Paris, Vol. I. pp. I07-I3-






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Fig. 36. Part of the Abbey of S. Germain des Pr
s, Paris. 
From a print dated 1687; reproduced in Les Atr.d
lmes Bih/iotJdf}lUS d, Paris, 
par AIr. Franklin, Vol. I. p J26. 
I Portd. major mona..h..rii. 4- Sacrarium. 8 ßiLlinrheca. 
2 Atriumecde,ie. S (:(au...trumpan'umB. Z\I. 9 ))ormitoriaR. PatrumCong-rcgationis. 
3 I{Lg
lli.. ba
ilica. 7 I>urmitorium. JO Aulæ Ho"pitum. 12 Refectorium. 





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 .,;" "'





Fig. 37. Part of the Abbey of S. Germain des Près. Paris. 

From a print in Histoire de r Abhaye Royale d
 Saillt Germaill des PreE, par Dom Jacques Bouillart, 
fol. Paris, 1724. lettered ., ]'Abbaye...telle lJu'elle est présentement." 

A. Porte Extérieure. 
B. !lIaisons de ('enclos. 
C. Parvi. de l'Eglise. 
D, L'Eglise. 
F. Sacl istie. 
G. Petit Cloitre. 

H. Grand Cloitre, 
I. Bibliothèque. 
K. Dortoir. 
L, Réfectoire. 
1\1. Cuisine. 
Z. Do>>toir des Hôtes. 

I now pass to Cathedrals, which vied with monasteries in the 
possession of a library; and, as might be expected, the two sets 
of buildings throw light on each other. I regret that it has now 
become impossible to discover the site or the extent of such a 
library as that of York, which was well stocked with books so 
early as the middle of the eighth century; or of that of Notre 
Dame de Paris, which was a centre of instruction as well as of 




learning; but some good examples of capitular libraries can be 
found in other places; and, like those of the monasteries, they 
were for the most part built in the fifteenth century. I wiI] 
begin with the library of Lincoln Cathedral, part of which is 
still in existence 1 . 
The Cathedral of Lincoln was founded at the close of the 
eleventh century, and in the middle of the twelfth we find the 
books belonging to it kept in a press (armarium). \Ve learn 
this from the heading of a list 2 of them when placed in the 
charge of Hamo, Chancellor 1150-1182, written on the first 
page of a copy of the Vulgate, the first volume in the collec- 
Quando Hamoni cancellario cancellaria data fuit et librorum cura 
commissa, hos in armario invcnit libros et sub custodia sua recepit, 
scilictt ; 
Bibliothecam in duobus voluminibus [etc.]. 
The list which follows enumerates 42 \.olumes, togethcr with 
a map of the world. To this small collection there were added 
in Hamo's time, either by his own gift or by that of other 
benefactors, 3 I volumes more; so that before his death the press 
contained 73 volumes, probably a large collection for that period, 
Besides thcse, there were service-books in the charge of the 
bursar (thcsallrarius), and song-books in that of the precentor. 
The three collections wcre probably kept in the church. 
The first indication of a separate room to contain books is 
afforded by the gift of a volume by Philip Repyndon, Bishop 
1405-1419, in which ycar he resigned. It is given after his 
resignation, "to the new library to be built within the Church 
of Lincoln." Again, Thomas Duffield, formerly Chancellor, who 
dicd in 1426, bequeathed another book" to the new library of 
the aforesaid church." The erection of the new library may 
thcrcfore be placed betwecn 1419 and 1426. 
A catalogue, now in the muniment room at Lincoln, which, 
on internal cvidence, may be dated about 1450, enumerates 107 

1 For the bi,torical information contained in this narrati\ e, \\ hich originally 
appeared a, a paper in the Call1b. Allt. Soc. Proc. alld C0111111. I)\.. 3; for 18 February, 
, I am indebted to an article in Th,' BUIlder, 1 April, 1892, Pl" 159-163, by 
my friend the late Rev. E. Yenahle" Canon and Precentor of Lincoln. 
" TI1i, list has been printed in the .\ppcndix to Gira/.llts Ca/ll/>/,wis (Rulls 
Scrie,), \ 11.165-1;1. 




works, of which 77 (more or less) have been identified as still 
in the Jibrary. The heading, which I will translate, refers to a 
chaining of the books which had rccently taken place, possibly 
after the construction of the cases which I shall describe in a 
subsequent chapter. 
It is to be noted that in this indenture are enumerated all the books 
in the library of the church of blessed Mary of Lincoln which have 
lately been secured with locks and chains; of which indenture one part 
is stitched into the end of the black book of the aforesaid church, and 
the other part remains in,..'. 
The library-a timber structure-was placed over the 
northern half of the east walk of the cloister. At present 
only three bays at the north end remain; but there were 
originally two bays more, at the south end, between the existing 
structure and the Chapter-House. These were destroyed in 
1789, when the following Chapter Ordcr was made (7 l\Iay): 
That the old Library adjoining to the Chapter House shall be taken 
dO\\n, and the part of the Cloysters under it new leaded and the \\alls 
com pleated, and the Stair case thcrto removed, and a new Stair Case 
made, agreable to a plan and estimate of the Expence thereof. 
I will now briefly describe the room, with the assistance of 
the plan (fig. 38)2, and the vicw of the interior (fig. 39). 
The walls arc 9 ft. 8 in. high, from thc floor to the top of the 
wall-plate. They are di\'ided into bays, each 7 ft. 9 in. wide, by 
vertical shafts, from which, at a height of 5 ft. 9 in. from the 
ground, spring the braces which support the tiebeams of the 
roof. These are massive bcams of oak, slightly arched, and 
molded on their under-surface. Their position is indicated by 
dotted lines on the plan (fig. 38). The whole roof is a splendid 
spccimen of fifteenth century work, enriched with carving in the 
finest style of execution. There is a bold ornament in the centre 
of each tiebeam; and at the foot of the central joist in each bay, 
which is wider than the rest, and molded, while the others are 

, Memorandum quod in ista indentura continentur omnes libri existentes in libraria 
ecclesie beate Marie Lincoln de novo sub selUris cathenati, cuius quidem indenture 
una pars consuitur in fine nigri libri dicte ecclesie et altera pars remanet in... The 
rest of the line is illegible. I have to thank the Rev. A. R. Maddison for kindly 
lending me his transcript of this valuable MS. 
2 For this plan I have to thank my friend T. D. Atkinson, Esq., of Cambridge, 

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Fig. 39. Interior of the Old Library, Lincoln Cathedral. 

I"h" "pCII du"r 1l'
<I, int" lIl'an ""n)""o,(', library. IIe,nib,," ill Chapkr '"ilL 




plain, there is an angel, projecting horizontally from the wa)}. 
The purlin, again, is molded, and where it intersects the central 
joist a subject i<; carved: an angel playing on a musical 

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L I a R A R Y 



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Fig. 38. Plan of the Old Library, Lincoln Cathedral 




instrument-a bird-a rose-a grotesque figure-and the like. 
Below the wall-plate is a cornice, 12 in. deep, ornamented with 
a row of quatrefoils above a row of battlements. Beneath these 
there is a groove, which seems to indicate that the walls were 
once panelled or plastered. 
It is probable that there was originally a row of equidistant 
windows in the east and west walls, one to each bay on each 
side; but of these, if they ever existed, no trace remains. There 
must also have been a window at the north end, and probably 
one at the south end also. The present windows are plainly 
modern. The room is known to have suffered from a fire, 
which tradition assigns to 1609; and probably the original 
windows were changed during the repairs rendered necessary at 
that time. 
I t is not easy to decide how this library was approached. 
I t has been suggested that the stone newel stair at the north- 
west corner of the Chapter-House was used for this purpose; 
but, if that be the case, how are we to explain the words in the 
above order "the Stair Case thereto removed"; and an item 
which occurs in the Cathedral Accounts for 1789, "taking down 
the old stairs, strings, and banisters, 14s."? It appeared to me, 
when examining the building, that there had been originaIly a 
door on the ea!>t side, now replaced by a window, as shewn on 







, I 


Fig. 40 Plan of the Cloister, etc., Lincoln Cathedral. 




the plan (fig. 3S). Possibly the staircase destroyed in 1789 led 
to this door, which was conveniently situated in the centre of a 
bay. The staircase built in 1789 is the one still existing at the 
north-east corner of the old library (fig. 40, A). 
At Salisbury Bishop Osmund (1078-99) is stated to have 
"got together a quantity of books, for he himself did not disdain 
either to write books or to bind them after they had been 
written "I; but the library, as elsewhere, was a work of the 
fifteenth century. The foundation is very clearly recorded in 
an act of the Chdpter, dated 15 January, 1444-45. The 
members present decide that as it is desirable, "for divers 
reasons, to have certain schools suitable for lectures, together 
with a library for the safe keeping of books and the convenience 
of those who wish to study therein-which library up to the 
present time they have been without-such schools and library 
shall be built as soon as possible over one side of the cloister of 
the church, at the cost of William [AyscoughJ now Bishop of 
Salisbury. the Dean, and the Canons of the aforesaid church
Accordingly, a building was erected, extending over the whole 
length of the east cloister, conveniently approached by the 
staircase at the south-west corner of the south transept, which 
originally led only to the roof. This library \\as curtailed to its 
present dimensions, and otherwise altered, in consequence of 
a Chapter Order dated 25 November, 1758, part of which I 
proceed to quote: 
That the southern part of the library be taken down as far as the 
partitions \\ ithin which the manuscripts are placed, the whole being 
found much too heavy to be properly supported by the Cloysters, which 
were never designed originally to bear so great a \\ eight. 
That the roof of the northern part of the library (where the 
Theological lecture antiently used to be given by the Chancellor of the 
Church) be taken dO\\ n; the walls lowered, and a new and lighter roof 
be placed in its room; and that the same be fitteù up in a neat and 
comenient manner for the reception of the prescnt books and any 
others which shall hereafter be added to them. 

I William of :\Ialmesbury, Gesttl POlltijiWI1l, Rolls Ser. p. 18 3. 
2 Ex eo quod visum est eis vIi Ie et necessarium iliuersis cau
 eos moventihus 
hahere quasdam scolas competentes pro lecturi
uis vna cum libraria ad conseruacionem 
librorum et vtilitatem inibi studere volencium qua hactenus caruenmt sIatuerunt... 
uper vna parte claustri eiusdem ecclcsie huiusll1o<li scole edificentur...cum 
libraria [etc.]. Chapter Act Bool.. I ha\e to thanl. A. )<. :\Ialden, Esq., Chapler 
CleIl,., fur hi, kind assistance. 




The appearance of the library, as the 
execution of the above order left it, will 
be understood from the view (fig. 41), 
taken from the roof of an adjoining 
alley of the cloister. I nternally the 
room is 66 feet long, 20 feet wiòe, and 
12 ft. 9 in. high. It has a flat plaster 
ceiling, part of the "new and lighter 
roof" imposed on the lowered walls in 
1758, The fittings are wholly modern. 
The library attached to S. Paul's 
Cathedral, London, by which I mean 
the medieval cathedral commonly called 
Old S. Paul's, was in a similar position. 
I ts history is succinctly recorded by 
Dugdale. After describing the ceme- 
tery called Pardon Church Hawgh, with 
the cloister that surrounded it, he pro- 

The Library. 
Over the East quadrant of the before 
mentioned Cloyster, was a fair Library built, 
at the costs of IValter Shir)'lzgtlJ1l, Chancelour 
of the Duchy of Lancaster in King Henry 
the 6th's time: But in the year MDXLIX. 
10. APr. both Chapell, Cloyster, and Monu- 
ments, e)\,cepting onely that side where the 
Library \\as, were pulled down to the ground, 
by the appointment of Ed7C'ard Duke of 
Somerset, then Lord Protector to King Ed- 
'ward 6. and the materialls carried into the 
Strand, towards the building of that stately 
fabrick called Somerset-Huuse, which he then 
erected; the ground where they stood being 
afterwards converted into a Garden, for the 
Pettie Canons l . 

Nothing is known of the dimensions 
or arrangement of the above room; but, 
as it was over a cloister, it must have 
been long and narrow, like that which 

1 Dugdale, HistOJY oj' S. Paurs Cathedral, foJ. 
16;;8, p. 132. 






Fig. 42. Plan of the Library 
in Wells Cathedral. 
Scale ï ' U inch = 1 foot. 

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12 3 

still exists in a similar position at \Vells Cathedra], which I will 
briefly mention next. 
The Chapter Library at \Vells Cathedral occupies the south 
end of a long, narrow room over the east pane of the cloister, 
approached by a spiral staircase from the south transept. This 
room is about 162 feet long by 12 feet wide; the portion assigned 
to the library is about [06 feet long (fig. 42). The roof was origi- 
nally divided into 13 spaces by oak principals, very slightly 
arched, resting on stone corbels. There were two windows 
on each side to each space. I n the part fitted up as a library 
the principals have been plastered O\Oer to imitate stone, and 
the joists between them concealed by a ceiling. There is a 
tradition that this room was fitted up as a library in 1472. The 
present fittings, which I shall have occasion to mention in a 
subsequent chapter, were put up when the library \\ as refitted 
and stocked \\ith books after the Restoration 1 . 
These four examples-at Lincoln, Salisbury, S. Paul's, and 
Wells-are typical of Cathedral libraries built over a cloister. I 
will next notice some that were detached. 
The library of Lichfield Cathedral 2 stood on the north side 





. . 
I ï 



Fig. 43. Plan ofthe Library at Lichfield Cathedral. 
From History a"d A"titjuitiu of Sta.ffords"ir
, by Siebbing Shaw, (01. Lond. '7gB. Vol. 11. p. 244. 

I I have fully de
cribed this library and its fittings in Cambo Allt. Soc. Proc. alld 
Comm. 1891. Vol. \ III., pp. 6-10. 
2 My account of the library at I ichfield is derived from the History ami 
Anti'luitÙs 0/ th
 Church alld City 0/ Lìciji
/d, hy Rev. Th. lIar"ood, 4to. 
Gloucester, 1806, p. 180; and Ihe Chapter Act Book, which I was allO\\ed 10 
examine through the kiI1l1nc,
 of my friend the Very Rev. H. :\1. Luclock, D.D.. Dean. 

12 4 



of the cathedral, west of the north door, at some little distance 
from the church (fig. 43). It was begun in 1489, when Thomas 
Heywood, dean, "gave 1:40 towards building a library of brick," 
and completed in 1493. It was about 60 feet long by 15 feet 
wide, approached by a flight of stairs. As the Chapter Order 
(9 December, 1757) which authorised its destruction speaks of 
the" Library, Chapter Clerk's House, and Cloisters," I suspect 
that it stood on a colonnade, after the manner of the beautiful 
structure at K oyon, a cathedral town in eastern France, at no 
great distance from Amiens. 
This library-which I have carefully examined on two 
occasions-was built in pursuance of the following Order of the 
Chapter, 16 November, 1506. 
Le 16. iour de Nouembre audit an, l'affaire de la Librairie se remet 
sus. Le sieur Doyen offre cent francs pour cet æuure. Et Ie 20. iour 
de Nouembre, ouy Ie Maistre de Fabrique et Commissaires à ce deputez, 
fut arrestée Ie long de I'allée qui meine de l'Eglise à la porte Corbaut; 
et à cet effect sera tiré Ie bois à ce necessaire de nos forests, et se [era 
ladite Librairie suiuant Ie pourtrait au patron e"hibé au Chapitre Ie 
sixiesme iour de Mars 1506. Le Bailly de Chapitre donne cent sols 
pour ce bastiment, à condition qu'il en aura une clef'. 
This library (fig. 44) is, so far as I know, an unique specimen 
of a library built wholly of wood, supported on wooden pillars 
with stone bases, so that it is raised about 10 feet above the 
stone floor on which they rest, probably for the sake of dryness. 
There is a legend that a market used to be held there; but at 
present the spaces between the pillars have been filled in on 
the south side. The one here represented (fig. 45) stands on 
the north side, in a small yard between the library and the 
The site selected for the building is on the south side 
of the choir of the cathedral, with its longest axis north and 
south. It measures 72 feet in length by 17 feet in width 
between walls, but was originally longer, a piece having been 
cut off at the south end, where the entrance now is, and where 
the library is now terminated by a stone wall of classical 
character. Tradition places the entrance at the opposite end, 

1 Levasseur, An1lales de L'Eglis,. Cathålrale de Noyo1l, 4to. Paris, 1633, p. 1111. 
A marginal note tells us that the gift of the Bailly de Chapitre \\as accepted q June, 
15 0 7. 


.. " 
I . Â 
;,.- . 
I 4 ':':1 
.. , '1 
1,.00' l 
'1 ...... 1,1 t 
I .f 
. 'I I 
.-': ....., 


 4- - Ij 
. \ 

Fig. 44. Chapter-Library at Noyon, France. 



12 5 

by means of an external staircase; an arrangement which would 
have been more convenient fur the members of the Chapter, as 
they could have approached it through their vestry, which is 
on the south side of the choir. There are now nine windows 





- -r-

': _ 
\" iI!1'
 ' ,

I 1--,..... 


Fig. 45. A single pillar ofthe cloister beneath the Chapter Library at Noyon. 

on the cast side-originally there were at least ten; but none 
on the west side, and it is doubtful if there ever were any, as 
they would be rendered useless by the proximity of other 
structures. The fittings are modern and without interest. 
At Bayeux also the Chapter-library is a detached building 
-of stone, in two floors, about 40 feet long by 26 feet wide, 
but I have not been able to discover the date at which it was 
built; and at York a detached library was built 1421-22 at 
the south-west corner of the south transept. This building, in 
two floors, the upper of which appears to have held the books, 
is still in existence. 




The Cathedral library at Troyes, built by Bishop Louis 
Raguier between 1477 and 1479, to replace an older structure, 
was in an unusual position, and arranged in an unusual manner. 
It abutted against the south-east angle of the south transept, 
from which it could be entered. It was nearly square, being 
3 0 feet long by 24 feet broad; and the vault was supported 
on a centra] pillar, from which radiated the SIX desks which 







I, , 



, .. 
/., \" 

A . 
\.....,:t(,' 7
 '" q" :' 

' i.-l.
-',{' \./ 

9- ){-1--}t. .." 
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Fig. 46. Plan of the Library at the south-east angle ofthe south transept ofthe 
Cathedral at Troyes. 
AJ B, C, DJ Library; E, Entrance from vecotibule in front of south transept door. The room 
on the eac;,t side of this passage was u..;ed to keep records in. 

contained the books (fig. 46). It was called La Tlteologalc, 
because lectures on theology were given in it, as in the library 
at Salisbury. The desks were taken down in 17 06 , and the 
whole structure swept away in 1841-42, by the Departmental 
Architect, in the cour5e of" a thorough restoration t." 
At this }Joint I cannot refrain from mentioning a somewhat 
anomalous library-foundation at \Yorcester, due to the zeal of 

t Voyage archéologiqlte.. . dans Ie Départelllmt de r Altbe. A, F. Arnaud. 4 10 . Troyes 
I83i, pp. 16t- I6 3. 



12 7 

Bishop Carpenter (1444-76). though both structure and foun- 
dation have been long since swept away.. In 1464 he built and 
endowed a library in connexion with the charnel-house or chapel 
of S. Thomas, martyr, a detached building on the north side of 
the cathedral. The deed in which this foundation is recorded 
contains so many interesting particulars that I will state briefly 
the most important points insisted upon
The Bishop begins by stating that by ancient arrangement 
the sacrist of the cathedral, assisted by a chaplain, is bound to 
celebrate mass daily in the charnel-house or chapel aforesaid, 
to keep it in repair, and to supply it with ornaments and 
vestments. For this purpose an annual endowment of [5 marks 
has been provided. He then describes his own foundation. 
In accordance with the intention of his predecessors, and 
actuated by a desire to increase the knowledge of our holy faith, 
he has built a library in the aforesaid charnel-house, and caused 
certain books to be chained therein. Further, lest these ,'olumes 
should be left uncared for, and so be damaged or abstracted, he 
has caused a dwelling-house for a master or keeper of the said 
books to be erected at the end of the said library; and he has 
conferred on the said keeper a new stipend, in addition to the 
old' stipend of IS marks. 
This keeper must be a graduate in theology, and a good 
preacher. He is to live in the said chantry, and say mass daily 
in the chapel thereo[ He is to take care of all the books in the 
library, which he is to open on e'-ery week-day for two hours be- 
fore None, and for two hours after X one, to all who wish to enter 
for the purpose of study. He is to explain hard and doubtful 
passages of scripture when asked to do so, and once in every 
week to deliver a public lecture in the library. ;"IoreO\-er on 
Holy Thursday he is to preach in the cathedral, or at the cross 
in the burial-ground. 
Further, in order to pre,'ent any book being alienated, or 
carried away, or stolen from the library, a tripartite list of all 
the books is to be made, wherein the true value of each is to be 
I For the library belonging to the monastery see p. 108. 
2 The deed is copied in ,JI55. Pra/tÙ,/on (Soc. Ant. Lond.), Vol. VIII. p. 379. For 
this reference I have to thank the Rev. J. K. Floyer, 
r.A., librarian of \\orcester 
Cathedral. See hi, ThollJalld Y
ars of a Catludral Librar)' in the R
liqllary for Jan. 
19 01 , p. 7. 




set down. One of these lists is to be retained by the Bishop, 
another by the sacrist, and a third by the keeper. \Vhenever a 
book is bequeathed or given to the library it is to be at once set 
down in this list together with its true value. 
On the Friday after the feast of Relics (27 January) in each 
year, the sacrist and the keeper are carefully to compare the 
books with the list; and should any book have disappeared 
from the library through the carelessness of the keeper, he is to 
refJlace it or the value of it within one month, under a penalty 
of forty shillings, whereof twenty shillings is to be paid to the 
Bishop, and twenty shillings to the sacrist. \Vhen the aforesaid 
month has fully expired, the sacrist is to set apart out of his 
own salary a sum sufficient to pay the above fine, and to 
purchase and chain in the library as soon as possible another 
book of the same value and material. 
The keeper is to receive from the sacrist an annual salary of 
ten pounds, and four yards of woollen cloth to make him a gown 
and hood. 
The sacrist is to keep the chapel, library, books, and chains, 
together with the house built for the use of the keeper, in good 
repair; and he is, moreover, to find and maintain the vestments 
and lights required for the chapel. All these duties he is to 
swear on the Holy Gospels that he will faithfully perform. 
My enumeration of Cathedral libraries would be sadly incom- 
plete if I did not say a few words about the splendid structure 
which is attached to the Cathedral of Rouen'. The Chapter 
possessed a respectable collection of books at so early a date 
as 1120; this grew, and, 29 July, 1424, it was decided to build 
.. a study or library (qlloddam stlldillm self Vllam librariam)," 
which was completed in 1428. Fifty years afterwards-in 1477- 
it was decided that the library should be extended. The first 
thought of the Chapter was that it should be built of wood, 
and the purchase of good stout timber (bolla et grossa ligna) 

, ;\1 Y principal authority for the history of the Chapter Library is the l\Iinute- Book 
of the Dean and Chapter of Rouen Cathedral, now preserved in the Archives de la \ïlle 
at Rouen, where I had the pleasure of studying it in September, 1896. A summary of it 
is given in bl7Je11taire-So11l11laire des Archives Dip", te11lNItales (Seine Infériellre), 4 to . 
Paris, 18,4, Vol. II. I have also con
ulted Rcche,.ches sur les Bibliothèques.. .de RoueIl, 
8vo., [853' 



12 9 

is ordered. This plan, however, was evidently abandoned 
almost as soon as it was formed, for two years afterwards 
(20 April 1479) "the library lately erected" is mentioned. 
These words can only refer to the existing structure which is 
built wholly of stone. A week ]ater (28 April) William Pontis, 
master-masol), was asked to prepare a design for a staircase up to 
the library. This he supplied on the following day. [n June of 
the same year the Chapter had a serious difference of opinion 
with him on the ground that he had altered the design and 
exceeded the estimate. They came, however, to the wise 
conclusion that he should go on with the work and be requested 
to finish it with all dispatch. 
In the following spring (20 :\Iarch 1480) it was decided to 
prolong the library as far as the street; and in 148 I (18 Sep- 
tember) to build the beautiful stone gate surmounted by a 
screen in open-work through which the court is now entered. 
This was completed by the end of 1482. The whole structure 
had therefore occupied about five years in building. 
The library, together with a building of older date next to 
the Cathedral which serves as a sort of vestibule to it, occupies 
the west side of what is still called, from the booksellers' shops 
which used to stand there, La COllY des Libraires. The whole 
building measures 105 ft. in length, by 25 ft. in breadth. The 
library proper is lighted by six windows in the east wall, and by 
two windows in the north wall. The masonry of the wall under 
these windows and the two lancets by which it is pierced indicate 
that advantage had been taken of an earlier building to form the 
substructure of the library. The west wall must always have 
been blank. Access to the library was obtained directly from 
the transept by mean
 of the beautiful stone staircase in t\\O 
flights which Pontis built in 1479. This staircase leads up to a 
door marked BIBLIOTHECA which opens into the vestibule 
above mentioned. In 1788 a room was built over the library to 
contain the archives of the church, and the staircase was then 
ingeniously prolonged so as to reach the new second-floor. 
C" nfortunately the minutes of the Chapter tell us nothing 
about the original fittings of this room 1. In 17 18 the books 

1 The Canons held a long debate, 28 
Iay, I4i9, "de ambonibus seu IUIrinis in 
nova libraria fiendis et coIlocandis "; but finally decided to use the furniture of the old 
library for the present. 

c. L. 





were kept in cupboards protected by wire-work, over which were 
the portraits of benefactors to the library 1. 
At present the archives have disappeared; the few books 
that remain have replaced them in the upper storey, and the 
library is used as a second vestry. The illustration (fig. 47) 
shews the interior of the COllr des Libraires, with the beauti- 
ful gate of entrance from the street. The library occupies the 
first floor. Beneath are the arches under which the shops used 
to be arranged; and above is the library of 17 88 . 

1 Voyage Liturgique de la France, par Le Sieur de l\Ioléon, 17 I 8, p. 268. I have 
to thank Dr James for this quotation. 


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OW were the libraries mentioned in the preceding 
chapter fitted Up? For instance, what manner 
of bookcases did Archbishop Chichele put into 
his library at Canterbury in 1414, or the" bons 
ouvriers subtilz et plains de sens" supply to the 
Abbat of Clairvaux in 1496? The primitive 
book-presses have long ago been broken up; and the medieval 
devices that succeeded them have had no better fate. This 
dearth of material need not, however, discourage us. \Ve have, 
I think, the means of discovering with tolerable certainty what 
monastic fittings must have been, by comparing the bookcases 
which still exist in a more or less perfect form in the libraries 
of Oxford and Cambridge with such monastic catalogues as give 
particulars of arrangement and not merely lists of books. 
The collegiate system was in no sense monastic, indeed it 
was to a certain extent established to counteract monastic 
influence j but it is absurd to suppose that the younger com- 
munities would borrow nothing from the elder-especially 
when we reflect that the monastic system, as inaugurated by 

. f . 

9- 2 

13 2 



S. Benedict, had completed at least seven centuries of success- 
ful existence before \Valter de Merton was moved to found a 
college, and that many of the subsequent founders of colleges 
were more or less closely connected with monasteries. Further, 
as we have seen that study was specially enjoined upon monks 
by S. Benedict, it is precisely in the direction of study that we 
might expect to find features common to the two sets of com- 
munities. And, in fact, an examination of the statutes affecting 
the ]ibrary in the codes imposed upon some of the earlier 
colleges at Oxford and Cambridge, leads us irresistibly to the 
conclusion that they were derived from monastic Customs, 
using the word in its technical sense, and monastic practice. 
The resemblances are too striking to be accidental. 
I shall therefore, in the next place, review, as briefly as I 
can, the statutes of some of the above colleges, taking them in 
chronological order 1 ; and I shall tr;:mslate some passages from 
But first let me mention that the principle of lending books 
to students under a pledge was accepted by the University of 
Oxford many years before colleges were founded. It is recorded 
that Roger L'Isle, Dean of York, in the early part of the 
thirteenth century, <I bestowed severa] exemplars of the holy 
Bible to be used by the Scholars of Oxford under a pledge" ; 
that the said books, with others, were '<I locked up in chests, or 
chained upon desks in S. Mary's Chancel and Church to be 
used by the Masters upon leave first obtained"; that certain 
officers were appointed to keep the keys of these chests, and to 
receive the pledges from those that borrowed the books; and 
that the books were so kept "till the library over the Con- 
gregation House was built, and then being taken out, were set 
up in pews or studies digested according to Faculties, chained, 
and had a keeper appointed over them 2." 

1 The Statutes of the Colleges of Oxford and Cambridge bearing on the care of 
books have been thoroughly allalysed by Professor \Villis in his essay on .. The 
Library," Arch. Hist. III. pp. 387-471, which I edited and completed. I have 
therefore not thought it necessary to acknowledge each quotation separately, but I 
wish it to be understood that this section of my present book is to a great extent 
borrowed from him. 
2 \Vood, History a1ul Antiquities of the University of Oxford, ed. Gutch, 4 to . 
Oxford, 1796, \'o\. II. Part 2, p. 910. 




In the statutes of Merton College, Oxford, 1274, the teacher 
of grammar (gra1ll11latiCl/s) is to be supp]ied with a sufficient 
number of books out of the funds of the House, but no other 
mention of books occurs therein 1 . The explanatory ordinances, 
however, given in 1276 by Robert Kilwardby (Archbishop of 
Canterbury 1273-79), direct that the books of the community 
are to be kept under three locks, and to be assigned by the 
warden and sub-warden to the use of the Fellows under 
sufficient pledge 2 . In the second statutes of University College 
( 12 9 2 ), it is provided, "that no Fellow shall alienate, sell, pawn, 
hire, lett, or grant, any House, Rent, ;\Ioney, Book, or other 
Thing, without the Consent of all the Fellows"; and further, 
with special reference to the Library: 
Every Book of the House, now gi\'en, or hereafter to be given, shall 
have a high value set upon it when it is borrowed, in order that he that 
has it may be more fearful Jest he lose it; and let it be lent by an 
Indenture, whereof one part is to be kept in the common Chest, and 
the other \\ith him that has the Book: And let no Book, belonging to 
the House, be lent out of the College, without a Pa\\n better (than the 
Book), and this with the Consent of all the Fellows. 
Let there be put one Book of every Sort that the House has, in 
some common and secure Place; that the Fellows, and others with the 
Consent of a Fellow, may for the Future have the Benefit of it. 
Every Opponent in Theology, or Reader of the Sentences, or a 
Regent that commonly reads (regens et legens COlllllllllliter), when he 
wants it, shall have any necessary Book, that the House has, lent to 
him Gratis; and when he has done with it, let him restore it to that 
Fellow, who had formerly made choice of its. 
The statutes of Oriel College, dated 1329, lay don n the 
following rules for the management of books: 
The common books (com mums /ihri) of the House are to be brought 
out and inspected once a year, on the feast of the Commemoration of 
Souls [ 2 November], in presence of the Provost or his deputy, and of 
the Scholars [F elIo,," s]. 
Every one of them in turn, in order of seniority, may select a single 
book which either treats of the science to which he is devoting himself, 

1 Commisso DocfS. (Oxford), Vol. I. Slatutes of Merton College, Cap. 2, p. 2-1. 
2 Sketch of flu Lift of Walter de .lJlertoll, by Edmund [Hobhouse], Bishop of 
Kelson, Kew Zealand, 8vo. Oxford, 18 59, p. 39, 
S Allllals of Ulliversity College, by Wm. Smith, 8vo. 1718, pp. 37-39. I have 
compared Mr Smith's version wiIh Ihe Statute as printed by AnsI"y, Jlullillletlta 
AcaJemÎca, I. 58, :'9, and have made a few corrections. 




or which he requires for his use. This he may keep, if he please, until the 
same festival in the succeeding year, when a similar selection of books is 
to take place, and so on, from year to year. 
If there should happen to be more books than persons, those that 
remain are to be selected in the same manner I. 

The last clause plainly shews how small the number of the 
books must have been when the statute was written. Their 
safety was subsequently secured by an ordinance of the Provost 
and Scholars, which, by decree of the Visitor, dated 13 May, 1441, 
received the authority of a statute. The high value set upon 
the books is shewn by the extreme stringency of the penalties 
imposed for wilful loss or failure of restitution. After describing 
the annual assemblage of the Pro\.ost and Fellows, as directed 
in the former statute, the new enactment proceeds as follows: 
Any person who absents himself on that day, so that the books 
selected by him are neither produced nor restored; or who, being 
present, refuses to produce or to restore them; or who refuses to pay 
the full value, if, without any fraud or deception on his part, it should 
happen that anyone of them be missing; is to be deprived of all right 
of selecting books for that year; and any person who wittingly defers 
the aforesaid production or restitution till Christmas next ensuing, 
shall, ipso facto, cease to be a Fellow. 
Further, any scholar "ho has pawned or alienated, contrary to the 
common consent of the college, any book or object of value (.locale) 
belonging to the college; or who has even suggested, helped, or 
favoured, such pawning or alienation, shall, zþso facto, cease to be a 
member of the Society'. 
The statutes of Peterhouse, Cambridge, dated 1344, class 
the books of the Society with the charters and the muniments, 
and prescribe the following rules for thcir safe custody: 
In order that the books which are the common property of the 
House (communes libri), the charters, and the muniments, may be kept 
in safe custody, we appoint and ordain that an indenture be drawn up 
of the whole of them in the presence of at least the major part of the 
scholars, eJ\.pressing what the books are, and to what faculty they 
belong; of which indenture one part is to be deposited with the 
l\Iaster, the other with the Deans, as a record of the transaction. 
The aforesaid books, charters, and muniments are to be placed in 
one or more common chests, each having two locks, one key of which 
shall for greater security be deposited with the Master, the other with 
the Senior Dean, who shall cause the books to be distributed to those 

J Commisso Dods. (Oxford), Vol. I. Statutes of Oriel College, p. 14. 
2 Ibid. p. 22. 




scholars who have need of them, in the manner which has been more 
fully set forth in the section which treats of the office of the Deans '. 
The section referred to prescribes that the Deans 
are to distribute them [the books] to the scholars in such manner as 
shall appear to them expedient; and further, they shall, if they think 
proper, make each scholar take an oath that he will not alienate any 
book so borrowed, but will take all possible care of it, and restore it to 
Iaster and Dean, at the expiration of the appointed time 2 . 
In 1473 Dr John \Varkworth became Master. He \\as 
evidently a lover of books, for he gave to the Library fifty-five 
\'olumes, which he protected, after the fashion of an earlier age, 
by invoking a curse upon him who should alienate them. 
Moreover, during his Mastership, in 1480, the College enacted 
or adopted a special statute headed, De /ibrÎs Co//egii, which 
may be thus translated: 
In the name of God, Amen. As books are the most precious 
treasure of scholars, concerning \\ hich there ought to be the most 
diligent care and forethought, lest, as heretofore, they fall to decay or 
be lost, it is hen:by appointed, settled, and ordained, by the :\Iaster and 
Fellows of the House or College of So Peter in Cambridge, that no 
book which has been chained in the library there shall be taken ay,ay 
from, or removed out of, the library, except by special assent and 
consent of the :\Iaster and all the resident Fellows of the aforesaid 
College-it being understood that by resident Fellows a majority of the 
whole Society is meant. 
Provided always that no book which has been gi\en to the library 
on condition of being kept perpetually chained therein shall, by virtue 
of this statute, be on any pretence removed from it, ðcept only when it 
needs repair. 
Provided also that e\ery book in the library which is to be selected 
and distributed shall have a certain value set upon it by the Master and 
the two Deans, and that indentures shall be drawn up recording the 
Once in every two years, in the :\richaelmas Term, a fresh selection 
and distribution shall he held of every book which is not chained in the 
Library-the precise day to be fixed by the :\Iaster and the Senior 
No book so selected and distributed shall pass the night out of 
College, except by permission of the :\[aster and the President and the 
other Dean who is not President; provided always that the said book 
be not kept out of the College for six months in succession. 

I Commisso Doels. (Cambridge), II. 3H. De omnibu. libris Domu., 
et Charti, custodiendis. 

 Ibid. p. Ii. De Duobus Decanis et eorum officio. 

13 6 



If it should happen that a given book be not brought in and 
produced on the aforesaid day of fresh selection and distribution, then 
the person who is responsible for it shall pay to the Master, or in his 
absence to the Senior Dean, the full value of the said absent book, 
under pain of being put out of commons until it be restored. 
Every Fellow who is not present on the aforesaid day shall appoint 
a deputy, who shall be prepared to bring in any books which may have 
been lent to him, on the day when a fresh distribution is to take place, 
under pain of being put out of commons'. 

The statutes given in 1350 to Trinity Hall, Cambridge, by 
the Founder William Bateman (Bishop of Norwich 1344-56), 
contain rules which are more stringent than those already 
quoted, and were evidently written in contemplation of a 
more considerable collection of volumes. A list of the books 
which he himself presented to Trinity Hall is appended to his 
statutes, and a special chapter (De /ibris col/cgii) is allotted 
to the Library. This may be translated as follows: 
On the days appointed for the general audit of accounts [in the 

1ichaelmas and Easter Terms] all the books which have been received, 
or shall be received in future, either from our own liberality, or from the 
pious largess of others, are to be laid out separately before the Master 
and all the resident, .Fellows in such manner that each volume may be 
clearly seen; by which arrangement it will become evident twice in 
each year whether any book has been lost or taken away. 
No book belonging to the aforesaid College may ever at any time 
be sold, given away, exchanged, or alienated, under any e]\.cuse or pre- 
text; nor may it be lent to anybody except a member of the College; 
nor may it be entrusted in quires, for the purpose of making a copy, to 
any member of the College, or to any stranger, either within the pre- 
cincts of the Hall or beyond them; nor may it be carried by the Master, 
or anyone else, out of the Town of Cambridge, or out of the aforesaid 
Hall or Hostel, either whole or in quires, except to the Schools; pro- 
vided always that no book pass the night out of College, unless it be 
necessary to bind it or to repair it; and when this happens, it is to be 
brought back to College as soon as possible after the completion of the 
binding or the repair. 

Ioreover, all the books of the College are to be kept in some safe 
room, to be assigned for the College Library, so that all the Scholars of 
the College may have common access to them. \Ve give leave, however, 
that the poor scholars of the college may have the loan of books contain- 
ing the texts of Canon and Civil Law for their private use for a certain 
time, to be fixed at the discretion of the Master and the three Senior 
Fellows, provided they be not taken out of Col)ege; but the books of 
the Doctors of Civil and Canon Law are to remain continuously in the 

1 Commisso Docts. (Cambridge), II. H' Statutum de libris Collegii. 




said Library Chamber, fastened with iron chains for the common use of 
the Fellows]. 
It is evident that this statute was regarded as a full and 
satisfactory expression of what was required, for it is repeated, 
with additions or omissions to suit the taste of the respective 
founders, in the statutes of N"ew College (1400), All Souls' 
(1443), Magdalen (1479), Corpus Christi (1517), Brasenose 
(1521), Cardinal College (1527) and S. John's College (1555), at 
Oxford; and in those of King's College, Cambridge. 
Among these changes a few are sufficiently important to 
require special notice. At New College William of \\'yke- 
ham allows students in civil law and canon law to keep 
two text-books" for their own special use during the whole 
time they devote themselves to those faculties in our College, 
provided they do not possess such books of their own"; the 
"remaining text-books, should any be left over, and also the 
glosses or commentaries of the Doctors of civil and canon law, 
may be lent to the persons belonging to those faculties by the 
method of annual selection, as in the other faculties"; the 
"books which remain unassigned after the Fellows have made 
their selection are to be fastened with iron chains, and remain 
in the Common Library for the use of the Fellows 2 "; the 
wishes of donors, whether expressed by will or during their 
lifetime, are to be respected; and, lastly, the safety of the 
Library is to be secured by three locks, two large, and one small, 
of the kind called" a clickett." The keys of the two former are 
to be kept by the Senior Dean and the Bursar respecti"ely; of 
the cIickett each Fellow is to have a separate key. At night the 
door is to be carefully locked with all three keys 3. 
At All Souls' College. the founder, Henry Chichele (Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury 1414-43), makes the books to be chained 
the subjects of definite choice. The principle of an annual 
selection is maintained, except for .. those books which, in 
obedience to the will of the donors, or the injunction of the 
\Varden, the Vice-\Varden, and the Deahs, are to be chained 
, Commisso Doels. (Cambridge), II. 432. De libris Collegii. 
2 The words are "in libraria sociorum communem usum continue 
remanere. " 
3 Commisso Doels. (Oxford), \'01. I. StatUies of Xew College, p. 9i. De libris 
collegii conservandis et non alienandis. 


for the common use of the Fellows and Scholars." Further, the 
preparation of a catalogue is specially enjoined. Every book is 
to be entered in a register by the first word of the second leaf, 
and every book given to the Library is to bear the name of the 
donor on the second leaf, or in some other convenient position. 
The books are to be inspected once in every year, after which 
the distribution, as provided for by Bateman and \Vykeham, is 
to take place. Each Fellow who borrows a book is to have 
a small indenture drawn up containing the title according to the 
first word of the second leaf, and an acknowledgment that he 
has received it. These small indentures are to be left in chaff;e 
of the \Varden, or, in his absence, of the Vice- \V arden 1. 
In the statutes of Magdalen College, the founder, William 
Waynflete (Bishop of Winchester 1447-87), maintains the 
provisions of \Vykeham and Chichele, but introduces an in- 
junction of his own. to the effect that every Fellow or Scholar 
who uses the Library is to shut the book he has consulted 
before he leaves and also the windows; and the last to use the 
Library at night is to go through the whole room and see that 
all the windows are shut and not to leave the door open-under 
a severe penalty2. 
At Corpus Christi College, the founder, Richard Fox 
(Bishop of Winchester 1501-28), insists upon safeguards 
against the indiscriminate chaining. of books: 
No book is to be brought into the Library or chained there, unless 
it be of suitable value and utility, or unless the will of the donor have 
so directed; and none is to be taken out of it, unless it so happen that 
there be there already a considerable number on the same subject, or 
that another copy in better condition and of greater value, to take its 
place, have been presented by some benefactur. 
By this means those books which are of greater value, or which 
contain material of greater utility to students in each Faculty, will be 
stored up in the Library; while those which are not fit for the Library, 
or of which a sufficient number of copies already exist in it, may he 
distributed to the Fellows of the College, according to the system of 
indentures between the borrower and the President, or in his absence 
the Vice-President, or one of the Deans 3 . 

1 Commisso Dods. (Oxford), Vol. I. Statutes of All Soul
' College, p. 5"- De 
custodia bOnOf1\Ill ad capellam pertinentiuIll, 
2 Ibid. \'01. II. Statutes of l\Iagdalen College, p. 60. De custodia lihroruIll, 
ornamentOnlIll, jocaliuIll, et aliof1\111 bononlm collegii. 
3 Ibid. Statutes of Corpus Christi College, p. 89- De custodia hOnOf1\Ill Collegii. 




The Bishop was evidently afraid that the Library should be 
overcrowded, for he e\'en allows books to be sold, in the event of 
their becoming so numerous as to be no longer of use to the 
Fellows for the purpose of being borrowed. 
Lastly I will translate the following College Order or Statute 
which was in force at Pembroke College, Cambridge_ Un- 
fortunatel}' it is without date, but from internal evidence may 
take rank with some of the earliest enactments already quoted. 
Let there be in the aforesaid House a Keeper of the Books, who 
shall take under his charge all the books belonging to the community, 
and once in each year, namely on the feast of the Translation of 
S. Thomas the Martyr [7 July], or at the latest within the eight days 
immediately following, let him render to the community an account of 
the same, by exhibiting each book in order to the 
laster and Fellows. 
The inspection ha\ing been made, after the Fellows have deliberated, 
let him distribute them to each Fellow in proportion to his require- 
ments_ And let the said Keeper have ready large pieces of board 
(tabu/as llIaglltls), co,'ered with wax and parchment, that the titles 
of the books may he written on the parchment, and the names of the 
.Fellows who hold them on the wax beside it. "-hen they have brought 
their books back, their names shall be erased, and their responsibility 
for the books shall come to an end, the keeper remaining liable. So 
shall he never be in ignorance about any book or its borrower. 
No book is to be taken away or lent out of the House on any 
pretext whatever, except upon some occasion which may appear justi- 
fiable to the major part of the community; and then, if any book be 
lent, let a proper pledge be taken for it which shall be honourably 
exhibited to the Keeper'. 
Let us consider, in the next place, what points of library- 
management have been brought into the most prominent relief 
by the above analysis of College statutes. \Ve find that the 
"Common Books" of the House-by which phrase the books 
intended for the common use of the inmates are meant-are 
placed on the same footing as the charters, muniments, and 
valuables (jocalia). They are to be kept in a chest or chests 
secured by two or three locks requiring the presence of the 
same number of officials to open them. These ,'olumes may 
not be borrowed indiscriminately, but each Scholar (Fellow) 

, Thi, pas_age is quoIed in a shorI account of Pembroke College Library, drawn 
up Ly Matthew \Vren, D.D., while Fellow, as Ihe preface to a volume dated /6Ij, in 
y,hich he recorded Ihe name
 of those who had presenIed book
 to the Library. The 
words at the end of the statute are: .. sub cautione idnnea cu,todi librorum exposita 
_ine fraude." 

14 0 



may choose the book he wants, and write a formal acknowledg- 
ment that he has received it, and that he is bound to restore 
it or pay the value of it, under a severe penalty. Once a year 
the who]e collection is to be audited in the presence of the 
Master of the College and all the Fellows, when a fresh 
distribution is to be made. The books not so borrowed are to 
be put in "some common and secure place"; an arrangement 
which was subsequently developed into a seJection of books 
required for reference, and the chaining of them in "the Library 
Chamber for the common use of the Fellows." 
The Register of Merton College, Oxford, contains many 
interesting entries which shew that these directions respecting 
the choice and loan of books were faithfully observed. I will 
translate a few of them 1 : 
On the twenty-fourth day of October [1483] choice was made of 
the books on philosophy by the Fellows studying philosophy. 
On the eleventh day of November [q83], in the Warden's lodging, 
choice was made of the books on theology by the .Fellows studying 
On the eighteenth day of March [1497] choice of books on logic 
was held in the Common Hall 3. 
The next entry is particularly va]uable, as it proves that all 
the books on a given subject, no matter how numerous, were 
occasionally distributed: 
On the twenty-siJ\.th day of the same month [August, 1500] choice 
was made of the books on philosophy. It was found that there were in 
all 349 books, which were then distributed among the Fellows studying 
In 1498 (14 December) the Warden wished to borrow a 

1 The history of Merton College has been most admirably written, in Mr Robinson's 
series of College histories, by my friend Bernard W. Henderson, M.A., Fellow and 
Librarian. His researches have thrown a new light on the library, and e.pecially on 
the date of the fittings. My most cordial thanks are due to him. to the \Varden and 
to the Bursar, for their kindness in allowing me access to the library, and also to all 
the documents referring to it. 
2 Reg. Vet. fol. i b. Vicesimo quarto die Octobris celebrata erat eleccio librorum 
philosophie inter philosophicos collegii socios. 
Undecimo die mensis No\"embris celcbrata erat eleccio librorum theologie in domo 
custodis inter Theologos collegii socios. 
3 ibid. fo\. 110. 18 0 . die eiusdem mensis [Marcii] fuit elcccio librorum logicalium 
in Alta Aula. 
4 Ibid. fo\. 125 b. 




book from the Jibrary, whereupon a record of the following 
formalities was drawn Upl: 
On the same day a book of College Orders (on the second leaf ler 
posila) was taken out of the library with the consent of all the Fellows. 
.\nd lea\e was given to the Warden, in the presence of the four senior 
Fellows, to make use of it for a season. As a caution for this book 
the aforesaid Warden deposited a certain other book, \iz. S. Jerome's 
commentary on Matthew and the Epistles of Paul (on the second leaf 
sun/). This book lay in our possession as caution for the other book 
of College Orders 2 j but, because this book was an insufficient caution, 
there was deposited with it as a supplementary caution another book, 
namely: Jerome on Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. 
The \Varden kept the book for a year, at the expiration of 
which we find the following entrys: 
On the last day but one of the same month [1499] the "'arden 
returned to the Vice-Warden the book of College Orders (on the second 
leaf ler posita) which he had had out of the library for his own use for 
a season on depositing a sufficient caution. 
Whereupon the Vice-".arden returned to him his cautions, namely, 
the commentary of S. Jerome on :\Iatthew (second leaf slm/), and 
another, namely, S. Jerome's exposition of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and 
Ezekiel (second leaf, Alidi cela). 
Lastly, I will quote a record of the solemn reception of a 
gift to the library: 
On the same day [2 August, 1493] a handsome book was given to 
the College through John Godehew, Bachelor, by two venerable men, 
Robert Aubrey and Robert Feyld, to be chained in the common 
library of the House for the perpetual use of those studying in it. It 
is Hugh of Vienne on the Apocalypse, on the second leaf quod possessio 
eius. Let us therefore pray for them 4 . 
These provisions savour of the cloister. The" common 
books" represent the .. common press (armarÙwl commlme) " 
with which we are so familiar there; the double or triple locks 
with which the book-chests arc secured recall the rules for safe- 
guarding the said press; the annual audit and distribution of 
books is directed in Lanfranc's statutes for English Benedictines; 
the borrowing under a pledge, or at least after an entry made 
I Rl!g. Vl!t. Col. Jl8. 
t The words are: .. qui quidem liVer jacuit pro caucione alienus libri decretorum 
collegii. " 
S Ibid. Col. nI. 
t Ibid. fol. 100 b. 

14 2 



by the Librarian on his roll of the name of the book and the 
name of the brother who borrowed it, was universal in monas- 
teries; and the setting apart of certain books in a separate 
room to which access was readily permitted became a necessity 
in the larger and more Jiterary Houses. Lastly, the com- 
memoration of donors of books is specially enjoined by the 
Augustinians 1 . 
This close similarity between monastic and secular rules 
need not surprise us. I have shewn in the preceding chapter 
how faithfully the Benedictine rules for study were obeyed by 
all the Monastic Orders; and I know not from what other 
source directions for library-management could have been 
obtained. Besides, in some cases the authors of the rules which 
I have been considering must themselves have had experience 
of monastic libraries. Walter de Merton is said to have been 
educated in an Augustinian Priory at Merton; Hugh de 
Balsham, founder of Peterhouse, was Bishop of Ely; vVilliam 
Bateman, whose library-statute was so widely applied, had been 
educated in the Benedictine Priory at Norwich, and his brother 
was an abbat; Henry Chichele was Archbishop of Canter- 
bury, where, as I have shewn, a very extensive collection of 
books had been got together, to contain which worthily he 
himself built a ]ibrary. 
Secondly, monastic influence was brought directly to bear 
on both Universities through student-monks; and at Oxford, 
which was specially selected as the University for monastic 
es, the Benedictines founded Gloucester House, now 
\Vorcester College, so early as 1283. This coHege had a library, 
on the south side of the chapel, which was built and stocked 
with books at the sole charge of John \Vhethamstede, Abbat 
of S. Albans 2 -whose work in connexion with the library of 
that House has been already recorded 3. Durham College, 
maintained by the Benedictines of Durham, was supplied with 
books from the mother-house, lists of which have been pre- 
; and subsequently a ]ibrary was built there to contain 

1 See above, p. 71. 
2 Dugdale, 11101,. Al1gl. IV. 4 0 3-4 06 . 
3 See above, p. 108. 

 Cat. Vet. Libr. Eccl. Catn. DU1,dm. ed. Surtees Soc. Pp.39-4I. 




the collection bequeathed in 1345 by Richard de Bury (Bishop 
of Durham 1333-45)1. Lastly, Leland te11s us that at Canter- 
bury College in the same University the whole furniture of the 
library (Iota bib/iothecæ SIiPe/leX) was transferred from the House 
of Christ Church, Canterbury'. It is, I submit, quite incon- 
ceivable that the fittings supplied to these libraries could have 
been different from those commonly used in the monasteries 
of S. Albans, Durham, and Canterbury. 
Further, it should be noted that the erection of a library 
proper was an afterthought in many of the older colleges, as it 
had been in the monasteries. For instance, at :\Ierton College, 
Oxford, founded 1264, the library was not begun till [377; at 
University College, founded 1280, in 1440; at BaWol College, 
founded 1282, in 143 I; at Oriel College, founded 1324, in 
1444; at Pembroke College, Cambridge, founded 1347, in 145 2 . 
William of Wykeham, who founded Xew CoHege, Oxford, in 
13 80 , was the first to include a library in his quadrangle; and, 
after the example had been set by him, the plan of every 
subsequent college includes a library of sufficient dimensions 
to last till the Reformation, if not till the present day. 
The above dates, covering as they do at least two-thirds of 
the fifteenth century, shew that the collegiate libraries were 
being built at the same time as the monastic. This coincidence 
of date, taken in conjunction with the coincidences in enactment 
which I ha\'e already pointed out, seems to me to supply an 
additional argument in support of my theory that the internal 
fittings of collegiate and monastic libraries would be identical. 
Besides, no forms are so persistent as those of pieces of furniture. 
A workman, once instructed to make a thing in a particular way, 
carries out his instructions to the letter, and transmits them to 
his descendants. 
Before we consider what these fittings were, I will briefly 
deal with some other questions affecting collegiate libraries, as, 
for instance, their size, position, and general arrangement. And 
first, as regards the number of books to be accommodated. 
It happens, unfortunately, that very few catalogues have been 

1 Wood, /listoryetc., Vol. II. P.9IO. 
· Leland, ComlJl. de Script. Brit. ch. 131. 10\\" this important quotation to the 
kindness of Dr J ame.. 




preserved of the libraries referred to in the above statutes; but, 
if we may estimate the extent of the remainder from those of 
which we have some account, we shall see that the number of 
volumes contained in a collegiate library must have been ex- 
tremely small. For instance, the catalogue' appended to Bishop 
Bateman's statutes, dated 1350, enumerates eighty-four volumes, 
classed under the following subjects, in two divisions 2 , viz. those 
presented to the College for the immediate use of the Fellows 
(A); and those reserved for the Bishop's own use during his 
life (B): 

A B 
Books on Civil Law . 7 3 
Books on Canon Law 19 13 
Books on Theology 3 25 
Books for the Chapel 7 7 

36 4 8 
At King's Hall, in 1394, eighty-seven volumes only are enume- 
rated 3; and even in the University Library not more than 122 
volumes were recorded in 1424
. They were distributed as 
lBooks on General Theology]fi .., 54 
Books on Scholastic Theology (Theologia disputata) . 15 
Books on l\1oral Philosophy 5 
Books on Natural Philosophy . 12 
Books on IVledicine (medicÙzalis philosoPhia) 5 
Books on Logic 1 
Books on Poetry 0 
Libri sop/listicales 
Books on Grammar 6 
Books on History (Libri crollicales) 0 
Books on Canon Law 23 

Total 122 

1 Printed in the Camb. AlltirJ. Soc. Comm., Vol. II. p. 73. 
2 The headings of the two lists are as follows: .. Lihri per nos de presenti dicto 
nostro Collegio dati et in dicto Collegio ex nunc ad Sociorum communem usum per- 
petuo remansllri. " 
.. Libri vero de presenti per nos dicto collegio dati, quorum llSllm noLis pro vitæ 
nostræ tempore qllamdiu nobis placuerit duximus reservandllm, immediate inferills 
3 Ari:h. Hist. Vol. II. p. 4'P' History of Trinity College. 
. Colleäed Papers of Henry Bradshaw, 8vo. Camb., 188 9, pp. 19-34. 
fi No heading to the first division of the list is given in the catalogue. 




The catalogue of the Library of Queens' College, dated '47 2 , 
enumerates one hundred and ninety-nine volumes I ; the second 
catalogue of the University Library, dated 1473, three hundred 
and thirty volumes'; an early catalogue of the library of 
S. Catharine's Hall, one hundred and four volumes, of which 
eighty-five were given by the Founder 3 ; and a catalogue of the 
(!Id library of King's College, dated '453, one hundred and 
seventy-four volumes. I n these catalogues the books are not 
directly classed under heads, but arranged roughly, according to 
subject, in their respective cases 4 . 
At Peterhouse in 1418 we find a somewhat larger collection, 
namely, three hundred and eighty vo]umes, divided among 
seventeen subjects. The gcneral heading of the catalogueD 
states that it contains "all the books belonging to the house 
of S. Petcr in Cambridge, both those which are chained 
in the library, those which are divided among the Fellows, 
and those of which somc are intended to be sold, whilc 
certain others are laid up in chests within the aforesaid 
house." This language shews that by the time thc catalogue 
was made the collection had becn divided into books for the 
use of the Fellows (lib,.i dis/ribumdi) and books chained in the 
library (libri catltmati Ùl libraria); in other words, into a 
lending library and a library of reference. \\' e are not told how 
this division had been made, or at what time; but it is evident 
that by '418 it had become permanent, and no longer depended 
on the tastes or studies of the Fellows. There was one set of 
books for them to select from, and another for them to refer to; 
but the two were quite distinct s . 
In the next place I will analyse the catalogue in order to 
shew what subjects were represented, and how many volumes 

I Camb. AnI. Soc. Com"'., \'01. II. p. 16 5. 
2 Ibid. V o\. II. p. 2SS. 
, Call1b. A1lt. Soc. Quarto PIIM., Xo. I. This catalogue repre
ents the state 
uf the library at the end of the fifteenth century, for it contains the books given by 
Richard !l;eI
nn, \I ho founded n Fellow,hip in r S03, and probably gave hi
 books at 
the ..ame time, "
ub ea comlicione quod semper remanerent cum tribus socii,." 
· From my additions to the 
,ay on "The Library," by Professor \\ïllis, p. "0,,, 
5 This catalogue, written at the beginning of the old parchment Regi,ter of the 
Cullege, has "een printed hy Dr Jamð in hi
 Catalogut of 'h.. .IISS. ill II... Library oj 
I'.t..rhoust, Iho. Carob.. 18')9' pp. 3- 2 (,. 
" From my a,!.Iitiu'h tu th" ""ay on" The Library," by Profe,,"r \\'illi
, p. ..O

l". I. 


14 6 



there were in each. And first of the contents of the library of 

Libri theologie cathenati 
lsti sunt libri Naturalis Philosophie cathenati in librario 
Libri Metaphisice 
l\Ioralis Philosophie 
" Astronomic 
" Alkènemie 
" Arsmetrice 
" :\1 usice . 
" Rcthorice 
" Logice 
" Gramatice 
Poetrie cathenati 
., De Cronicis cathenati 
" l\ledicine cathenati 
I uris Ciuilis cathenati 
" luris Canonici cathcnati 
Ex dono ducis exonic 
" 1\1. J oh. Sauage 
Libras subscriptos donavit l\Iag. Edm. Kyrketon 
" contulit.M. w. Lichfeid 
Ex do no 1\1. W. Redyct 
Libras subscriptos contulit 
1. Joh. Fayre 
contulit 1\1. Will. l\Iore 
" 1\1. John Leùes 









The books that were to be di,"ided among the Fellows are 
clas'ied as follows: 


theologie a'iSignati sociis 
Philosophie Naturalis l\Ietaphisice et ì\loralis 
diuisi inter socios 
Logice diuisi inter socios 
Poetrie et Gramatice assignati SOCIIS 

luris Ciuilis diusi inter socios 
" Canonici diuidendi inter socios 
empti ad usum...sociorum collegii cum pecuniis 
eiusdem collegii 









In framing these tables I have included among the Libri 
catkeuati those specially presented to the College, 46 in number; 
but I have not attcmpted to sort them according to subject. I 




ha,'e al,>o as,>umed that any book or books representing a given 
class, if not represented in the lending library, as Astronomy, 
lusic, etc., would be chained for rt'ference. The 
number of this class, 220, if added to the 160 of the other class, 
gi,'es the required total, 380. 
In addition to these tables it will be interestin
 to construct 
a third, containing the subject and number of the books repre- 
sented in both collectiuns: 

Chained Lent 
Theology 61 63 
Xatural Philosophy 26 1 
:\retaphysics 3 I 19 
:\roral Philol;ophy 5 
logic 5 I 15 
( ;rammar 6 l 
Poetry 4 J 13 
:\[edicine 15 3 
Ci\il Law 9 20 
Canun Law 18 19 
15 2 15 2 

The subject,> of the book'> included in this latter table 
represent, in a very clear and interesting way, the studies 
pursued at Peterhouse in the 14th and 15th centuries. It is 
prescribed by the statutes, dated 1344, that the scholars are to 
study Arts, Aristotelian Philosophy, or Theology; but that 
they are to apply themselves to the course in Arts until, in the 
judgmcnt of the i\laster and Fellows, or at least of the larger 
and wiser portion of that body, they are sufficiently instructed 
to proceed to the study of Theologyl. Two may study Ci,.il 
Law or Canon La\\', but no more at the same time; and one 
may study 1IIedicinc.. For both these lines of study special 
leave is required. 
The course of Arts comprised Grammar, Logic, 1\ri,>totle, 
Arithmetic, l\I usic. Geometry, and Astronomy. I n the first of 
these, including Poetry, the lending library contained more 
\'olumes than the reference library; in Logic it had three times 

I C mmi . r>" ( . (t ".'''''.ri,lgd, \'o\. I. p. 
t..,. '-I' 

" '''id. p. 22. 
10- -2 

14 8 



as many; in Philosophy (Aristotle and his commentators) it 
was well supplied; but, on the other hand, Music, Geometry 
and Astronomy were wholly wanting. Theology is represented 
by 63 volumes as against 61 in the reference library; Civil Law 
by 20 ,'olumes against 9 in the reference ]ibrary; and Canon 
Law by 19 against IR. In Medicine, however, there were only 
3 against 15. Bya curious coincidence the number of volumes 
in the two collections dealing with the subjects represented in 
both is the same. The subject most in request, as might ha,'e 
been expected, was Theology. Next to this come Civil Law 
and Canon Law. Medicine was evidently unpopu]ar. I have 
no explanation to offer for the curious fact that Arithmetic, 
Music, Geometry, and Rhetoric are represented by only a single 
,'olume apiece in the library of reference 1 . 
These examples, which there is no reason to regard as 
exceptional, are sufficient to shew that an ordinary chamber 
would be large enough to contain all the volumes possessed by 
a coIlege, even after some of the more generally useful books of 
reference had been chained to desks for the resort of students. 
It has been already shewn that what Professor \Villis calls 
" a real library-that is to say, a room expressly contrived fur 
the purpose of containing books 2 "-was not introduced into 
the plan of colleges for more than a century after their first 
foundation. I Ie points out that such rooms can be at once 
recognised by their equidistant windows, which do not, as a 
rule, differ from those of the orùinary chambers, except that 
they are separated by much smaller intervals. Examples of 
this arrangement are still to be seen at S. John'" CoIlege, Jesus 
College, and Queens' CoIlege, Cambridge; but perhaps the 
most characteristic specimcn of all is that which was built O\'er 
the Hall at Pembroke College in the same University, by 
Laurence Booth C\laster 1450-1480), the aspect of which has 
been preserved in Loggan's print, here reproduced (fig. 48)". 
The UpplT chamber (solarillm) which Thumas Cobham 
(Bishop of \V orcester 13 I 7-27) began to build o\'er the old 

I This analy
is of the catalogue uf l'eterhou_e Library is horrowed from the 
Intro<luction which I had the pleasure of contrilmting to my friend Dr James' 
2 AYth. I/ï..t., The Library, p. 404. " An'h./Iist., \01. I., p. '3K 



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[ CHAP. 

Congregation House on the north side of S. Mary's Church, 
Oxford, about J 320, for the reception of the books which he 
intended to present to the University, IS the earliest of these 


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libraries in existence. It still retains uO the south side part 
of a range of equidistant single-light windows of the simplest 
character, which, as just stated, mark the destination of the 

-.-:; - 








apartment. This room is about forty-five feet long by eighteen 
feet broad, and, in its original state, had probably seven single- 
light windows on each side, and a window of two lights 
at the east end 1 (fig. 49). A long controversy between the 
University and Oriel College rendered the benefaction useless 
for more than forty years; and it wa<; not until 1367 that the 
(;" niversity passed a statute directing that Bishop Cubham's 
books are to be chained, in proper order; and that the Scholars 
who wish to use them are to have free access to them at con- 
venient hours (tclIlporibus opportllllis). Lastly. certain volumes, 
of greater ,'alue, are to be sold, to the value of forty pounds, 
or more, if a larger sum can be obtained for them, for the 
purpose of purchasing an annual rent-charge of sixty shillings, 
to be paid to a chaplain, who is to pray for the soul of the 
aforesaid Thomas Cobham, and other benefactors; and who is 
to take charge of the books given by him and them, and of 
all other books heretufore given, or hereafter to be given, 
to thl:: University2. The passing of this statute may probably 
be regarded as the first in
titution of the office of University 
Librarian. Notwithstanding this statute, however, the Univer- 
sity did not obtain peaceful possession of their library until 14 10 , 
\\ hen the controversy was finally extinguished by the good 
offices of their Chancellor, Richard Courtenay!. 
As a type of a collegiate library I wiH select the old library 
of Queens' College, Cambridge. This room, on the first floor of 
the north side of the quadrangle, forms part of the buildings 
erected in 1448. It is 44 ft. long by 20 ft. wide (fig. 50), and is 
lighted by eleven windows, each of two lights, six of \\ hich arc 
in the south wall and five in the north wall. The windows in 
the south wall have lost their cusps, but they are retained in 
those in the nurth wall-and the library has in all points 
suffered less from modern interference than almost any other 
\\ith \\hich I am acquainted. The bookcases have been alterl::d 

I I have to thank my fricnd !\I r T. G. Jackson, architecl. for kindly lending mc thb 
,ection lOf Bi,hop Cobham's Lihrary. For his history of thc huilding. see hi" Church 
of St .J/ary tlz
 lïr..I,"'", Oxford, 189;' Pl" 1)0-106. With regard to the numbcr 
lOf \,indo\\s he note, (po (02): Thcre \\lOuld have been cight, h\o to 
 bay, \'ert; it nut 
that the tower buure"ses occupy half the western bay. 

tey. Ibm. .-l,aJ. I. 22;. 
J a< I,.',' lit mIra, p. 9 R . 




and patched more than once, In order to provide additional 
shelf-room; but at the bottom of the more modern super- 



c C 
L M 
m m 


To F\rlsIDIN.., ,",0001 


I K 
m m 
: Þ 

; 1t 
o A _ 

MacL.... O......,NQ 





c.III..e o. fL&T 

o .10 

Fig. So. Ground-plan of the Library at Queens' College. Cambridge. 

 I O 

structure part at least of the original medieval desk may 
detected. I f this fragment be carefully examined it will 
found that there is on the inside of 
each end uf the bookcase a groove 
which evidently once supported a desk 
6 ft. 6 in. long, and of a height con- 
venient for a seated reader to use l (fig. 
5 I). The books lay on their sides on 
this desk, to which they were chained 
in a way that I shall explain directly, 
and a bench for the reader was placed 
between each pair of desks. In the 
plan (fig. 50) I have added the half- 
desk which once stood against the west 
wall; and I have lettered all the desks 
according to the catalogue made in 1472 
by Andrew Docket, the first President. 



Fig. 51. Elevation of book-desk 
in Library of Queens . College, 

1 The total height of this desk-end is 66 in.; from the ground to the beginning of 
the groO\'e 31 in.;. each slit is 19 in. long. 
" For scale see fig. 62, p, 163. 




It should be carefully noted, when studying this plan, that 
the distance between each pair of windows is not more than 
2 feet, and that the end of the desh covers the whole of this 
space. If this fact be borne in mind when examining libraries 
that are now fitted up in a different way, it becomes possible to 
detect what the original method was. 
I propose to name this system of fittings the lectern-system; 
and I shall shew, as we proceed, that it was adopted, with "arious 
modifications, in England, France, Holland, Germany and Italy. 
Fortunately, one example of such fittings still exists, at 
Zutphen in Holland, which I visited in April, 189-1-. Shortly 
afterwards I wrote the following description of what is probably 
a unique survival of an ancient fashion I. 
The library in which these fittings occur is attached to the 
church of SS. Peter and \Valburga, the principal church of the 
tonn. .-\ library of some kind is said to have existed there 
from very early times"; but the place where the books \\ ere 
kept is not known. In 1555 a suggestion was made that it 
would be well to get together a really good collection of 
books for the use of the public. The first stone of the 
present building was laid in 1561, and it was completed in 
15 6 3. The author of the Thea/rulIl CrbiulIl Bc/gicæ, John 
B1aeu. whose work was completed in 1649, describes it ciS .< the 
public library poorly furnished with books, but being daily 
increased by the liberality of the Senate and Deputies 3 ." 
The room is built against the south choir-aisle of the church, 
out of which a door opens into it. In consequence of this 
position the shape is irregular, for the church is apsidal, and 
the choir-aisle is continued round part of the apse. It is about 
60 feet long, by 26 feet broad at the west end. In the centre 
are four octagonal columns on square bases, supporting a plain 
quadripartite vault. The room is thus divided longitudinally 
into two aisles, with a small irregular space at the east end. 
The diagrammatic ground-plan, here subjoined (fig. 52), will 

1 Call1b. .,/r,I. Soc. Proc. mtd COttlttl. Vol. VIII. pp. 3i9-388, i 'lay, 189... 
2 The existing Library is stilI call
d the Xew Library. 
3 .\,(>'iJtt1ll flC Jlfl;,lttltt' Thea/l1w, UrbÙw, Belglc,c, fol. Am_lerdam. I6..'J' s. v. 
lutphania. ror Ihese historical facts I have to thank my friend l\lr (;imherg, 
Ar,hiva,.ius at Zutphen. 



[ CH.-\P. 

help to make this description clear. It makes no pretensions 
to accuracy, having been drawn from notes only 1. 


'. . 
-:.:4-:;, . 
7,,-2 ::..:" 
;E. :. 


$ -. 


t ' 

, ;;;- 
,. ' 
---. - 
..... .-., .... 

Fig. 52. Ground-plan of the Library at Zutphen. 

There arc t\\ 0 windows, each of three lig-hts, at the west end 
of the room, and four similar windows on the south side, one to 
each bay. There is a fifth window, now blocked, at the south- 
east corner. Some of these windows contain fragment;; of 
richly coloured stained glass-among which the figure of a 
large green parrot is conspicuous; but whether these fragments 
were brought from the church, or are part of the glass originally 
supplied to the library, there is no evidence to shew. Most of 
these windows are partially blocked, having been damaged, 
it is said, in one of the numerous sieges from which Zutphen 
hds suffered. The position of the church, close to the fortifi- 
cations, as maeu's bird's-eye view shews, makes this story 

] I havc to thank :\Ir T. D. Atkinson, architect, for drawing thb plan. 




1 I 

T"" ' 






Fig. 53. General view of th!: north side of the Library attached to the 
church of S. Walburga at Zutphen. 




probable. The floor is paved with red tiles. The general 
appearance of the room will be understood from the view of 
the north aisle reduced from a photograph (fig. 53)1. 
There are eighteen buokcases, or desks; namely, ten on the 
south side of the room, and eight on the north side (fig. p). 
The material is oak; the workmanship very rude and rough. 
I will describe those on the south side first. Each is 9 feet long 
by 5 feet 5f inches high, measured from the floor to the top 
of the finial on the end; and the lower edge of the desk on 
which the books lie is 2 feet 6ì inches above the floor; but the 

t. ' 

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If , 






, I 






" " 



Fig. 54. Desk and reader on the south side of the Library at Zutphen. 
From a photograph. 

general plan, and the relative dimensions of the diffcrent parts, 
will be best understood from the photograph of a single desk at 
which a reader is seated (fig. 54), and from the elevation of one 
of the ends (fig. 55, A), beside which I ha\c placed the elevation 

I I have again to than\" J\Ir Gimberg for this l'hot"glaph. It \\a
 a work of no 
>mall difficulty o\\ing: to Ihc imperfect light. 

15 6 



of one of the desks at Queens' College (B). The photograph 
she\\'s that in fixing the height of the desk above the ground 




Fig. 55- Elevation of (A) one of the bookcases in the Library at Zutphen: (B) one of 
those in the Library at Queens' College, Cambridge'. 

the convenience of readers hdS been carefully considered. The 
iron bar that carries the chains is lucked into the ornamental 
upright, passes through a staple in the middle of the desk, and 
into the upright at the opposite end, which is left plain. This 
bar is half an inch in diameter, and one inch above the level 
of the top of the desk. It is prevented from bending by pas5ing 
through a staple fixed in the centre of the desk. A piece 
of ornamental iron-work is fixed to the upright. It is made 
to represent a lock, but is in reality a mere plate of metal, 
and the tongue, which looks as 
though it were intended to move, 
is only an ornament, and is pierced 
by the l-eyhole. The lock is sunk 
in the thickness of the wood, be- 
hind this plate, and the bar, which 
terminates in a knob, is provided 
with two nicks, into which the bolts 

Fig. 56. 

End of iron bar, 

1 For scale s
e fig. 62, p. 163' 




of the lock are shot when the key is turned (fig. 56). Between 
each pair of desks there is a seat for the reader 
The desks on the north ,>ide of the room differ slightly 

Fig. 51. End of one of the desks on the north side of the Library, Zutphen. 

from those on the south side. They are rather larger, thc end
are of a different shape and devoid of ornament (fig. 5ï), and 
there is a wider interval between the bar and the top of the desk. 
It seems to me prubdble that the more hig-hly ornamented desks 
are those which were put in when the room was first fitted up. 
dnd that the other.. were added from time to time as new books 
had to be accommodated. 
The books are attached to the desk by the following 
proces,>. A chain was taken about 12 inches long, more or 
less, consisting of long narrow links of hammered iron. These 
links exactly resemble, both in shape and size, those of a 
chain \\ hich may still be seen in the library of the Grammar 
School at Guildford, Surrcy]. This chain, of which d piece is 

I I have tle...cnbed thi, library in C"",l>. AliI. .Si.,. Pro.. all.! Co"'",. \oJ. \ III. 
Pl" II ,K 

15 8 


here figured (fig. 58), was probably made 
years after the building of the library 
at Zutphen. It terminates, like those 
at Zutphen (fig. 59), in a swivel (to 
prevent entanglement), attached to 
the ring which is strung upon the bar. 
The attachment of the chain to the 
book was effected by means of a piece 
of metal bent round so as to form a 
loop through which the last link of 
the chain was passed. The ends of 
the loop, flattened out, were attached 
by nail or rivet to the edge of the 
stout wooden board which formed the 
side of the book. This modc of at- 
tachment will be best seen in the 
volume which [ figure ncxt (fig, 60) 
-a collection of sermons printed at 
N urcmberg in 1487. It is belicved to 
havc oncc belonged to a Dominican 
House at Bamberg, in the library of 
which it was chained '. 
The iron loop in this specimen 
(fig. 60) is fastened to what I call the 
right-hand board of the book; by 
which I mean thc board which is to 
thc right hand of a reader when the 
book lies open before him; but thc 
selection of the right-hand or the lcft- 
hand board depended on indi\'idual 
tastc. Further the mode of attach- 
ment is never the same in two exam- 
ples. The iron and ri\.cts are often 
clumsy, and do considcrable damagc 
to the leavcs, by forcing them out of 
shape and staining them with rust. 
I n this method of chaining no pro- 
vision is made for removing any book 


111 1586, or only 23 




I, \ 



I I 
I I 

J " 


Fig. s8. I-'iece of chain, shewing 
the ring attached to the bar. 
the swivel, and one of the 
links, actual size. Guildford. 

I Thi
 book is now in the Univer,ity Lihrary. Cambridge. 




from the desk when not ,,"anted, and p]acing it on a shelf 
beneath the desk, as was 
done in some Italian mo- 
difications of the system. = _ 
Each volume must lie on 
the desk, attached by its 
chain, like a Bible on a 
church-lectern. The smallest 
number of volumes on any 
desk at Zutphen is six; the 
largest, ele\'en; the total, 
3IÚ. Most of those on the 
south side of the room were 
printed during the first half 
of the sixteenth century; those on the north side are much 
later, some as late as 1630. I did not see any manuscripts, 

",..- " 
, , '\ 
__cc '- __ 





Fig. 59. Piece ofthe iron bar, with chain, 


Fig. 60. Chained book, from a Dominican House at Bamberg, South Germany. 

I f we now reconsider the indication'i preserved at Queens' 
College, it wiIl, I feci sure, be recognised that the desks at 


Zutphen explain them, and enable us to realise the aspect of what 
I conceive to ha\'e been the most ancient method of fitting up 
a collegiate or a monastic library. \Vhen such a room first 
became necessary in a monastery, and furniture suitable for it 
was debated, a lectern would surcly suggest itself, as being used 
in the numerous daily services, and proving itself singularly 
convenient for the support of books while they were being read. 
Another example of such fittings was once to be seen at 
Pembroke College, Cambridge, in the library above the hall 
(fig. 48). In Dr Matthew \\'ren's account of that library 
already quoted there is a passage which may be translated as 

I would have you know that in the year 1617 the Library was 
completely altered and made to assume an entirely new appearance. 
This alteration was rendered necessary by the serious damage which, to 
our great sorrow, we found the books had suffered-a damage which 
was increasing daily-partly from the sloping form of the desks, partly 
from the inconvenient weight of the chains (tl111' ex declà'i plll/eO/lllll 
fabriclÎ, Imll ex Ù'ep/â mole ca/marlil/l)'. 

These desks were copied at S. John's College in the same 
University. A contract dated 20 June, 1516, prO\-ides that the 

shall make all the Desks in the Library wythin the said college of 
good and substanciall and abyll Tymber of Oke mete and convenient 
for the same Library, aftir and accordyng to the Library within... 
Pembroke Hall'. 

The Library here referred to was on the first floor to the 
south of the Great Gate of the college. It is now divided into 
chambers, but its original extent can be readily made out by 
its range of equidistant windows. The wall-spaces dividing 
these are 2St inches wide, practically the same as those at 
Queens' College. 
At Peterhouse also a similar arrangement seems to have 
subsisted when the catalogue of 141 S was made. The \.ery 
first book, a Bible, is said to stand" in the sixth lectern on the 

, Arc/.. IIist., The Library, III. .P9. It is obvious that these heavy chains must 
have been attached to the lower edge of one of the boards, and that the bar must have 
been below the desk and not above it. See ahove, p. I.W. 
, Arch. Hist. II. 2.J.J. 




\\ est side (lectrÙIO 6 0 ex parte oeeÙfelltali)." The word IcctrÌ1Ut111 
is unusual, but it emphasizes the form of the desk more clearly 
than any other. 

: t 
I 1 
i II' 
I '-\ .. '""! 


Fig. 6. Single desk in the old Library, Lincoln Cathedral. 

. \ splendid example of this type of case is to be seen dt 
I incoIn (fig. 61), \\ here three" stalls" or desks, belonging tu the 


I I 




old library already describedt, are still preserved. Each is about 
7 ft. long, 3 ft. broad, and 4 ft. 4 in. high to the top of the 
sloping portion. At each end, and in the centre, is a massÏ\'e 
molded standard, 7 ft. 2 in. high, terminating in a boldly carved 
finia]; and these three standards are connected together by a 
band of open-work. of a design similar to that of the cornice of 
the library. Half way between this band and the top of the 
desk is the bar to carry the chains, now of wood, but formerly 
of course of iron; and below this again is a shelf 18 in. wide, 
projecting slightly beyond the sloping portion of the desk. 
The edge of the desk is protected by a ledge, as usua], and 
under it is a secund shelf extending the whole width of the 
piece of furniture. \Vhat was the use of these shelves? As the 
bar is above the desk, not below it, the books must have reposed, 
as a general rule, upon the desk, instead of being laid on their 
sides on the shelf below it when not wanted by a reader. The 
chains would not have been long enough to aBo\\' of any other 
arrangement. I think, therefore, that the lower shelf must have 
been a constructional contrivance, to assist in keeping the 
standards in their places. The narrow upper shelf, on the other 
hand, \Vas probably intended for the com'enience of the reader. 
He might place on it, temporarily, any book that he was not 
using, and which got in his way while he was reading one of 
those beside it; or, if he was making extracts, he might set his 
inkstand upon it. 
These desks evidently stood in the old library against the 
shafts of the roof, for one of the end<; has been hollowed out in 
each to receive the shaft; and the finial, which is left plain on 
that side, is bent over slightly, to admit it under the brace 
(fig. 39). 
As I have now described three varieties of the lectern- 
system, I will place before my readers, side by side, elevatiuns 
uf each of the three (fig. 62) drawn to the same scale. It will 
be seen that they resemble each other exactly in essentials. 
The differences observable are accidental, and may be referred 
to individual taste. 
That this form of desk wa,> recognised on the continent as 

I See aoove, pp. Ili-121. 



16 3 

typical of library-fittings is proved b} its appearance in a French 
translation of the first book of the Consolatioll of Philosoph)' of 





Fig. 62. Elevation of A' one of the bookcases in the Library at Zutphen: (B) one of those in the 
Library at Queens' College. Cambridge; (C) one of those in the Library of Lincoln Cathedral. 

l . 




Boethius, \\'hich I had the good fortune to find in the British 
:\Iuseum I (fig. 63). This manuscript \\'as written in Flanders 
towards the enò of the fifteenth century. I n such a work the 
library shewn requires what I may term generalised fittings. 
An eccentric peculiarity would have been quite inadmissible. 
In the Stadtbibliothek of N'uremberg some of the oldest 
works on jurisprudence still preserve their chains. Each has 

I !\ISS. lIar\. 4335. The picIure hanging on lhe wall represents Philo<ophy 
offering her con,o\:ttion to a sick mall. 

11- 2 

16 4 



a short chain about 12 in. long fixed on the upper edge of the 
left-hand board. The title is written on the middle of the upper 
edge of the right-hand board. It is ob\.ious that these volumes 
must have lain on a de"k with their titles uppermost'. 

I " 
\ r 
p i 

- . 
t::::...,....- ^ 
!IÒ l 

i \ 
- / vr 


.. .. 

Fig, 63. Interior of a Library. 

From a :\IS. of a French translation of the fir" book of the Cnnsolnti01l of Philosoþhy b}' Boethius: 
written in Flandcr
 towards the end of the fifteenth centur)". 

It is probable that similar fittings were used in the library 
of the Sorbonnc. Paris, which was first established in 1289, with 
books chained for the common convenience of the Fellows (Ùt 
C01JlIllUllC11l sociorll1Jl uti/itatcm)'. This library was divided into 

1 For this information [ ha\ e to thank my friend. Bernard "'. Henderson, 1\1. A., 
Fdlo\\ of :\Ierton ColIE'ge, O,liml. 
" Deli_Ie. Cahilld &s ma1ulf'Tits, 11. I sr,. 110ft. 


- . I -l 
\ . . 




I Z 
! OJ 
I õ 
I è 











., . 


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16 5 

two separate collections, which formed, so to speak, two distinct 
libraries. The first, called the grcat library, or the common 
library, contained the books most frequently studied. They 
were chained, and could only be taken out under the most 
exceptional circumstances. .-\. statute, dated 13.2 I, the provisions 
of \\ hich recall the collegiate statutes summarised above, directed 
that the best book the society possessed on each subject should 
be thus chained. The second division of the library, called the 
small library, contained duplicates, books rarely consulted, and 
gcnerally all those of which the loan was authorised under 
ccrtain conditions). The following description of this library 
has been given by Claude Héméré (Librarian 1638-43) in 
his 1\IS. history. This I proceed to translate: 
The old library was contained under one roof. It was firmly and 
solidly built, and was 120 feet long by 36 feet broad..-Each side was 
pierced \\ ith 19 \\ indows of equal size, that plcnty of daylight both from 
the east and the West (for tbis was the direction ofthe room) might fall upon 
the desks, and fill the \\hole length and breadth of the library. There 
\\ere 28 desks, marked \\ ith the letters of the alphabet, fi\-e feet high, 
and so arranged that they were separated by a moderate interval. They 
were loaded with books, all of which \\ere chained, that no sacrilegious might [carry them off. These chains were attached to the right- 
hand board of every book] so that they might be readily thrown aside, 
and reading not be interfered with. 1\Ioreover the volumes could be 
opened and shut \\ ithout difficulty. . \ reader who sat do\\ n in the 
space between two desks, as they rose to a height of five feet as I said 
above, neither sa\\ nor disturbed anyone else who might be reading or 
\\ riting in another place by talking or by any other interruption, unless 
the other 
tudent \\ ished it, or paid attention to any question that might 
be put to him. It wa<; required, by the ancient rules of the library, that 
redding, \\Titing, and handling uf bouks should go forward in complete 

This description indicates desks similar to those of Zutphen. 
Even the height is the same. 
.-\. librdry \\hich viddly recalls the above account, with 
19 windows on one side and probahly the same number on the 
other, was built in 1506 for the Collège de X avarre, l'aris, now 
the Écolc 1'0lytechnique B l\Iy illustration (fig. 64) is from a 

) This account is, in the main, a tr:mslation of that given by M. Delisle, trl sltpra. 

 Bib\. XaI. Par. !\ISS. Lat. ;;"I).
. I'or the history of thi. library see Delisle, lit 
."pra, pp. 142-208; Franklin, . [IlCÙIlIII:S Bibliolh.'qlI<S tie Alii<, I. PI" 22'-3[;' 
J l'r:m\..lin, Itl Slip"" \ul. 1. p. .WI). 




photograph taken shortly before its destruction in 1867. I 
have calculated that it was about 108 ft. long by 30 ft. wide. 
. The library of the Collège d'Autun, Paris, was similarly 
arranged. An inventory takcn 29 July, 1462, records: "dix 
bancs doubles, à se seoir d'une part et d'autre, ct ung poupitre; 
esquelz bancs et poupitre ont esté trouvcz enchaisnez les ]ivres 
qui s'ensuyvent, qui sont intitulcz sur la couvcrture d'iceulx'o" 
The catalogue enumerates 174 vo]umes, or rather more than J7 
for each "banc" or lectern. The exprcssion billlcs doubles is 
interesting. as it seems to imply that there were at that time 
libraries in which billlcs simples were used; that is to say, 
lecterns with only one sloping surfdce instead of two. 
A study of the catalogue drawn up in 15 I 3 for the 
Augustinian House of S. \ïctor, Paris, by Claude de Grandrue, 
one of the monks, shews that the same system must have 
been in use there. Further, his catalogue is an excellent 
specimen of the pains taken in a large monastery to describe 
the books accurately, and to provide ready access to them. A 
brief prefatory note informs us that the desks are arranged in 
three rows, and marked with a triple series of letters. The first 
row is marked A, B, C, etc.; the second AA, BB, etc.; the third 
AAA, BBB, etc. To each of these letters are appended the 
numbers 1,2, 3,4 and so on, to shew the position of the required 
volume. For instance-to take one at random-rlbælardi COII- 
fessio is marked P. 13: that is, it is the thirteenth book on the 
desk in the first row marked P. \Vhen the catalogue proper- 
in which each manuscript is carefully described-was finished, 
the author increased its usefulness by the compositiun of an 
alphabetical index '. 
How, I shall be asked, can the form of the bookcase or desk 
(pulpitul/l) be inferred from this catalogue? I reply: In the 
first place, because there are no shelf-marks. The librarian 
notes the letter of the desk, and the place of each book on it, 
but nothing more. Secondly, because the number of manuscripts 
accommodated on each desk is so small. There are 50 desks, 

I Franklin, Bibliothèqltes de Paris, II. iO. 
· Delisle, ut sUþra, II. 228-231; Franklin, Itt sllþra, I. 135-185. The catalogue 
of Claude de Grandrue is in the Bibliothèque Nationale, fonds latin, No. '+i6j; the 
alphabetical index in the Dibliothèque 
IaLarine, 1\0. 1358. 



16 7 

and 988 manuscripts-or, an average of little more than 19 to 
each. At Zutphen the average is exactly 18. This piece of 
evidence, however, is so important that I will give it in detail. 
The following table, compiled by myself from the catalogue, 
gives the letters used tu mark the desks, and the number of 
manuscripts on each. 

A 13 AA 13 AAA 15 
B 21 HB 16 RBB 16 
C 13 CC 19 CCC I7 
I> 18 DO 18 \)J }\) 19 
E 17 F:E 21 EEE 17 
F 20 FF 17 FFF 29 
 18 <;C 18 (;(
G 24 
H 16 HH [ 7 HHH 29 
I 16 [I 23 III 25 
K. 17 KK 21 KKK 29 
L 22 LL 21 LLL 23 

I 21 l\I 
I 20 
II\DI 26 
N 18 NN 20 
0 q no 13 26 9 
P 19 PI' 23 
Q 22 QQ 27 
R q RR 26 
S 14 SS 28 
T 21 IT 24 
334 3 8 5 

These totals give a general total of 988 manuscripts, which, 
dividerl by 50, makes the average number for each desk, as 
<;tated above, 19'76. 
Further, my theory is supported by the positive e\'idence uf 
a description of this library (unfortunately without date) quuted 
by :\1. Delisle: ilLes livres estoient couchez et enchaisnez, sur 
de longs pupitres, et une allée entre deux 1 ." It is obvious that 
the English system of placing each lectern between a pair of 
windows could not have been maintained here. 
.\t Queens' College, Cambridge, the catalogue, dated 147 2 , 
enumerates 19
 volumes, divided over IO desks and 4 half-desks, 
each called a step (gracilis). There were (avoiding fractions) 
8 books on each half-desk, and 15 on each complete desk; so 

1 ndi
lc, 1'. 22
, Ilolt!. 



[ ClL\I'. 

that by comparing the plan (fig. 50) and ele,mtion of a desk 
(fig. 51) with the views of the library at Zutphen, a good idea of 
a college library in the fifteenth century can be obtained. 
Before I leave the lectern-system, I ",.ill describe two eccen- 
tric specimens of it. The first is still to be seen at Trinity Hall, 
Cambridge; the second once existed at the University of 
The library of Trinity Hall is thoroughly medieval in plan, 
being a long narrow room on the first floor of the north side of 
the second court, 65 feet long by 20 feet wide, with eight 
equidistant \\ indows in each side-wall, and a window of four 
lights in the western gable. It was built about 1600, but the 
fittings are even later, having been added beh,'een 1626 and 

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Fig. 66. Elevation of a book-desk and seat in the Library of Trinity Hall. Cambridge. 







un' ' 











Fig. 65. General view of the Library at Trinity Hall, Cambridge. 




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Fig. 68. A French Library of 1480. 

rrom :\15. 16.f in the Fitzwilli:uu :\hr-cum, Camùridge. 

- I 




16-1-5 durulg the mastership of Thomas Eden, LL.D. They are 
therefore a deliberate return to ancient forms at a time when a 
different type had been adopted else\\ here. 
There are five desks and six seats on each side of the room, 
placed, as usual, at right angles to the side-walls, in the inter- 
spaces of the windows, and in front of the windows, respectively. 
Their arrangement, and the details of their construction, will be 
understood from the general view (fig. 65), and from the elevation 
(fig. 66). 
These lecterns are of oak, 6 feet 7 inches long, and ï feet 
high, measured to the top of 
the ornamental finiaL There 
is a sloping desk at the top, 
beneath which is a single shelf 
(fig. 66, A). The bar for the 
chains passes under the desk, 
through the two vertical ends 
of the case. At the end far- 
thest from the wall, the hasp 
of the lock is hinged to the 
bar and secured by two keys 
(fig. 67). Beneath the shelf 
there is at either end a slip 
of wood (fig. 66, B), which in- 
dicates that there was once 
a moveable desk which could 
be pulled out when required. 
The reader could therefore 
consult his convenience, and 
work either sitting or stand- 
ing (fig. 65). For both these 
positions the hei
hts are very 
suitable, and at the bottom of 
the case was a plinth (fig. 66, C), on \\ hich he could set his feet. 
The seats between ed-ch pair of desks were of course put up at 
the same time as the desks themselves. They shew an ad\-ance 
in comfort, being divided into two, so as to allow support to 
the reader's back. 
Similar desks occur in a beautiful miniature (fig. 68) from 


 L "ib!P 'iidjJ / / 








Fig. 67. Lock at end of book-desk, 
Trinity Hall. 

17 0 



a manuscript (now in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge') 
written in France about 1480. They appear to be solid- 
possibly fitted with cupboards for books under the sloping 
portion. I\ 0 seats are shewn, and, as a reader is standing 
between them consulting a book, it may be concluded that 
they could only be used by students in that position. 
Lastly, I reproduce (fig. 69) a print by Jan Cornelis 
\\ oudanus, shewing the library of the University of Leyden 
in 1610'. The bookcases were evidently contrived with the 
\"Íew of getting the largest number possible into the room. 
Each contained a single row of books, chained to a bar in front 
of the shelf; and, also for the purpose of saving the space 
usually occupied by a seat, readers were obligcd to consult them 
standing. There are elevel1 bool:-cases on each side of the room, 
each containing from 40 to 48 volumes. At the end of the room 
are t\\'o cupboards, probably for manuscripts; and to the right of 
the spcctator is a third press, marked Lcgatu/Il JosljJlti Scaligcri. 
He died in January, 1609. Further, as an illustration of the 
usual appliances for study found in libraries at this period, and 
often mentioned in catalogues and account-books, I would draw 
attention to the globes and maps. 
I present these bookcases at this point of my researches with 
some diffidence, for thcy can hardly be said to represent the 
lectern-system. On the other hand, they do not exactly 
I epresent any other; and I therefore submit thd.t they may be 
looked at here, as transitional specimens, bridging over the 
interval betwcen the desks we have latcly been considering, and 
those which we shall han
 to consider in the next chapter. 

1 The !\IS. (:'\0. 16..) is by Frère Jehan de CasteL 
" This reproduction is from a copy of the print now in the Fitzwilliam Museum, 
Camhridge. It abo occms on a reduced scale in Lu Arts t/lIl1IoYt:1l Ag
 et à r Eþoqlle 
de {a R,.,,,,issllIue par Paul Lacroix, ..0. Pari_, ,869, p. "9 2 ; and in IIll1strilllll 
lIollmt.iiae d IVestflisiae Villi/Will etc. ..0. Lngl\. Bat., ,6.... 



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. F the evidence brought forward in the last chapter 
be accepted, the Library which a l\Ionastery or 
College built in the fiftecnth century \\ as a long- 
narrow room lighted by rows of equidistant win- 

 dows. Occasionally, if ncighbouring buildings 
allowed, therc was a window at thc end of the 
room also. The fittings were lecterns of wood. On these the 
books were laid, each volume bcing fastened by a chain to a 
bar usually placed over the desk, but occasionally, in all 
probability, in front of it or beneath it. The readers sat on 
benches immoveably fixcd opposite to each window. It is 
obvious that reading was convenient cnough so long as the 
students were few, but if they wcre numerous and the books 
chained too closely together much annoyance must have bcen 
caused. \Vhen the University of Oxford pctitioned Humphrey 
Duke of Gloucestcr in 1444 to help them to build a new library, 
they specially dwelt upon the obstacles to study arising from 
the overcrowded condition of thc old room. "Should any 
studcnt," thcy said, .. be poring over a singlc volume, as often 






17 2 



happens, he keeps three or four others away on account of the 
books being chained so closely together 1." 
Further, the lectern-system was so wasteful in the mattel' of 
space, that, as books accumulated, some other piece of furniture 
had to be devised to contain them. The desk could not be 
dispensed with so long as books were chained; and it therefore 
occurred to an ing-enious carpenter that the required conditions 
would be fulfilled if the two halves of the desk were separated. 
not by a few inches, but by a considerable interval, or broad 
shelf, with one or more shelves fixed above it. Thus a case was 
arrived at containing four shelves at least, two to each side of 
the case, which could be made as long as the width of the 
library permitted. I propo
e to call this system u the stall- 
system," from the word slaululIl (sometimes written sIal/a, 
sIal/us, or slal/ulIl), which is frcquently applicd to a case for 
books in a medieval library. 
There are at least five fine examples of this system at Oxford 
-none, I am sorry to say, at Cambridge. There was a set at 
Clare College, supplied to the old Library about 1627, but they 
have since been altered by the removal of the desks. fhose at 
Oxford are at Corpus Christi College (1517), S. John's College 
(159 6 ), Sir Thomas Bodley's library (1598), l\lerton College 
( 162 3). Jesus College (1677-79), 
Iagdalen College (of un- 
certain date). 
As a type of this system I shall take the library of Corpus 
Christi College, founded in 15 16 by Richard Fox, Bishop of 
\Vinchester. The library was ready for thc fittings by the end 
of l\Iarch in the following year, as we learn from a building 
açcount preserved by I Iearne : 
8 Henry YIII. This boke madc from the xvth day off l\Iarch unto 
the xxxti day off the same ::\[oneth (30 March, 15 I7]. 
:\ld. couenauntyd and agreid wyth Comell Clerke, for the makyng 
off the dðtis in the liberary, to the summe off xvi, after the maner 
and formc as they be in l\1agdaleyn college, except the popie heedes 
off the seites, thes to be workmanly wrowght and denly, and he to have 
all maner off stooff fonnd hym, and to have for the makyng off on 
dexte xs the sum off the hole viii. li. 2 

1 l\[acray, Allllals of the Bodlâall Library, p. i. The words used are: Jam enim 
si quis. ut fit, uni libro inhærcat, aliis s.ludere volentibus ad tres vel qllatuor pro 
vicinitate colligationis pr,
cllldit aCCCSSllm. 
" Hearne's Gl<lslollbllry, ed. 1 i! 2, p. 21;6. 


it l 




I :\ 



Fig. 70. Bookcases and seat in the Library at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. 
Frûnl a photograph taJ..en in ':-;9+. 



The arrangement 
cases will be under- 
stood from the gene- 
ral view (fig. iO) and 
from the elevation 
(fig. iI), but I shall 
proceed to describe 
them with some mi- 
The library occu- 
pies the first floor of 
the south side of the 
quadrangle opposite 
to the entrance. It 
is 79 feet 6 inches 
long, by 21 feet broad, 
with ten equidistant 
windows, about 3 feet 
6 inches apart, on 
each side. At the 
west end there is an 
inner library, occupy- 
ing the angle between 
the south and west 
sides of the quad- 
rangle. On each side 
there are nine book- 
cases, each 8 ft. 6 in. 
high, :2 ft. wide, and 
7 ft. 6 in. long, divid- 
ed by partitions into 
three compartments. 
I have carefully 
studied these caseson 
several occasions, and 
it seems to me that 
the only alterations 
introduced since the 
original construction 


and appearance of these most interesting 








..... ,_. &- 

tl_....f p........ 

sc...... O. ,..... 

III . . . 

Fig. 71. EI
vation of on
 in th
 Library of 
Corpus Christi CoJl
. Oxford. 

are: (I) the addition of about two feet to 




the upper portion of the case in order to provide additional 
shelf-room; (2) a slight change in the arrangements of the desk 
for the reader; and (3) the addition of the catalogue frame, 
which by its style is evidently Jacobean, to the end next the 
central alley. Originally each case had two shelves only, one 
on the level of the desk (fig. 7I, G, H), and the second about 
half-way between it and the original top of the case (ibid. E, F). 
Before chaining fell into disuse the cases were heightened so as 
to provide an additional shelf (ibid. C, D). At present the 
number has been further increased by the addition of a fourth 
shelf above the desk (ibid. A, B), and two below it (ibid. I, K, L,1\1). 
The desks have been altered by a change in the position of the 
bracket, and by the suppression of the slit through which the 
chains usually passed, as I shall explain below. 
The system of chaining used for the lectern-system required 
modification and extension to suit this new arrangement of 
shelves. At Corpus Christi College most of the iron-work 
remains (fig, 70); but it is necessary to go elsewhere to find 
chained books actually in use. Of such chaining I know no 
better example than the Chapter Library in Hereford Cathedral, 
from a stuùy of which I will describe the system, and shew that 
it is the same as that employed at Corpus Christi College and 
The Chapter Library at Hereford was originally over the 
west cloister, and there is evidence that it was being fitted up 
in 1394, when Walter de Rammesbury, B.D., gave LID for the 
desks '. The original builùing has long since been destroyed, 
and the books were transferred from one place to another 
until the present beautiful structure was built on the old site 
in 1897. 
Throughout these changes some very ancient bookcases have 
been preserved. They have been taken to pieces and altered 
several times, but are probably, in the main, those put up in 
1394. Above all, one of them possesses, in thorough working 
order, the system of chaining, parts of which are to be met with 
on the cases at Oxford which we have been considering. Of 

, Fasti llerefordenses, by Rev. F. T. I1a,'ergal. 4 0 , 1869, p. IHI. A Chapter- 
order dated I G February, 1589, directed the removal of the books to the Lady Chapel, 
and the erection of a sc.hool on the ground where the Lihrary had once stood. 




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Fig. 73. Part of a bookcase in the Chapter Library, Hereford. 




the accompanying illustrations the first (fig. ï2) gives a general 
de\\' of the most complete case, that which now contains the 

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- - -- - --- 
--- - - ---- ----- 


Fig. 7" Bookcase in the Chapter Library. Hereford Cathedral. 
From a sketch laken in 1876. 

manuscripts, and the second (fig. 73) shews one compartment 
of the same case \\'ith the boo
s, chains, desk etc. This case is 
9 ft. 8 in. long, 2 ft. 2 in. \\ ide and 8 ft. high, exclusive of the 
cornice. The material is unplaned oak, very rough: the ends 
are 2-3 in. thick, made of three planks fastened together with 
strong wooden pegs. The desk has been a good deal altered, 
and is no\\' inco1l\'eniently lo\\', but, as the books were chained, it 
is evident that there must al\\'ays have been desks on each case, 
and moreover the hook \\'hich held them up is still to be seen in 
several places. The frames to 
contain the catalogue, which 
closely resemble those at Ox- 
ford, are known to have been 
added in the 17th century by 
Thoma" Thornton, D.D., Canon 
As the books \\'ere to stand 
upright on a shelf, not to lie on 
their sides on a desk, it was 
necessary to attach the chain in 
a diff
rent manner. A narrow 








Fig. 74. Part of a single volume, shewing 
the clasp. the ring for the chain, and the 
mode of attaching it: Hereford. 

Ii 6 


CIIAlr.;Ir.;G IK TilE 

strip of flat brass was passed round the left-hand board (fig. i4) 
and riveted to it, in such a 
manner as to Icave a loop 
in front of the edge of thc 
board, wide enough to admit 
an iron ring, an inch and 
a quarter in diameter, to 
which one end of the chain 
was fastened. The book is 
placed on the shelf with the 
fore-edge turned outwards, 
and the other end of the 
chain is fastcned to a second 
ring, rather larger than the 
furmer, which plays along 
an iron bar (fig. is). For 
the two upper shelves thesc 
bars, which are t in. in 
diameter, are supported in 
front of the shelf, at such a 
distance from it as to allow of easy play for the rings (fig. i3). 
Each bar extends only from partition to partition, so that three 
bars arc needed for each 
shelf. For the lowest shelf 
thcrc are also three bars, 
sct two inchcs behind the 
edge of the shelf, so as to 
keep thc rings and chains 
out of the way of the desk. 
The bars for the upper 
<;helves rest in iron sockets 
screwcd to the woodwork 
at the juncture of thc hori- 
zontal shelves with the ver- 
tical divisions and ends re- 
spectively. The socket fixed 
to the end of thc bookcase Fig. 76. Iron bar and socket, closed to prevent 
removal of the bar: Hereford. 
which was intended to stand 
against the wall is closed b) an iron plate (fig. 76), so that the 


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Fig. 75. A single volume, standing on 
the shelf, with the chain attached 
to the iron bar: HerefOJ d. 








bar cannot pass beyond it. At the opposite end, that which 
would usually face the alley between the two rows of bookcases, 
the bars are secured by lock and key in the following manner. 
A piece of flat iron is nailed to the end of the bookcase, just 
above the level of the uppermost 
shelf (fig. 77). Attached to this 
by a hinge is a hasp, or band of 
iron, two inches wide, and rather 
longer than the interval between 
the two shelves, Opposite to each 
shelf this iron band expands into 
a semicircular plate, to which a 
cap is riveted for the reception of 
the head of the socket in which 
the bar rests (fig. 7í); and just 
below the middle shelf it drops 
into a lock and is secured by a 
key (fig. 73). A second hasp, 
similarly constructed, secures the 
lowest of the three bars; but, as 
that bar is behind, and not in front 
of, the shelf to which it belongs, 
the arrangements described above 
are reversed. One lock and key 
serves for the ironwork belonging to the three shelves. 
The chains are made of links of hammered iron as shewn in 
the sketch (fig. 78) which represents a piece of one of the actual 
size. There is usually a swivel in the centre, probably to prevent 
twisting. They vary somewhat in length, and in the length of 
the links, according to the shelf on which the books to which 
they belong are ranged, it being ob,-iously necessary to provide 
for the convenient placing of a book on the desk when a reader 
wished to consult it. The most usual dimensions are 3 ft. 4 in., 
3 ft. 6 in., 4 ft. 3 in. 
The removal of any of the volumes, or the addition of a new 
one, must have been a tedious and inconvenient operation. The 
bar would have to be ,\ ithdrawn, and all the rings set free. 
:\Ioreover, if this change had to be effected in one of the 
compartments remote from the end of the case which carried 

c. L. 


\() 41 





I j 

Fig. 77. Iron bar, with part of the 
iron plate or hasp which is secured 
by the lock and keeps the bar in 
place: Hereford. 


17 8 



the lock, the bar belonging to each of the other compartments 
\vould have to be withdrawn before the 
required volume could be reached. 
If the views (figs. 70, 71) of the book- 
cases at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, 
be attentively examined, it will be seen 
that the ironwork exactly resembles that 
at Hereford. \Ye find similar sockets to 
contain the bars at the junction of the 
horizontal shelves and vertical uprights, 
and a similar system of iron hasps to 
prevent the bars from being withdrawn, 
The desk for the reader would of 
course vary according to individual taste. 
As a general rule it was attached to the 
ends of the case by strong hinges, so that 
it could be turned up and got out of the 
way when any alteration in the ironwork 
had to be carried out. Iron hooks to 
hold it up were not unfrequently pro- 
vided. One of these, from the Bodleian 
Library, is here figured (fig. 79), It was 
also usual to provide a slit in this desk, 
about 2 in. wide, as close as possible to 
the shelf, for the chain attached to the 
book in use to pass through. This is 
well shewn in the view of a single book- 
case in Merton College, Oxford (fig. 83). 
I will next describe the library of 
Merton College, Oxford. There is still 
considerable doubt respecting the date of 
some of the bookcases, but the appear- 
ance of the library is so venerable, so unlike 
with which I am acquainted, that it must 
admiration, and deserve study 1. 

Fig. 78. Piece of chain, shew- 
ing the swivel: Hereford. 
Actual size. 

any similar room 
always command 

1 For the historical facls in the following account I 3'11 indebted to Mr Hender- 
son's History, to the merits of which I have already drawn attenlion. I have also 
made copious extracts from the College account-books. Further, I have carefully 
studied the library on several occasions, and have had the benefil of the professional 
assistance of my friend I\Ir T. D. Atkinson, Archilect. 


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The library occupies the whole of the first floor of the south 
side of "::\Iob Quadrangle" and 
the greater part of the same floor 
of the west side (fig. 80). It is 
entered through a doorway in the 
south-western angle of the court, 
whence a staircase leads up to the 
vestibule (fig. 81). This room is 
separated from the two divisions 
of the library by lofty oak screens, 
elaborately carved and ornamented 
in the style of the early renais- 

'I ' I J '

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The two rooms into which the 
library is divided have a uniform 
width of 20 ft. 6 in. The west 
room, called by tradition Old Li- 
brary, is 38 ft. 6 in. long (.-\, B, 
fig. 81); the south room, or K ew Fig. 79. Hook to hold up the desk. 
Library, is 56 ft. 6 in. long (C, D, Bodleian Library. Oxford. 
fig. 81). 
The west room is lighted by seven equidistant lancet windows 
in each of the west and east walls, and by two dormer windows 
of peculiar design on the side of the roof next to the court. 
The south room is similarly lighted by ten lancets in each of the 
north and south walls, and on the side next to the court by two 
dormer windows like those in the west room. This room more- 
over has an open space at the east end, about 10 ft. long, lighted 
by a window of two lights in each of the north and south walls 
respectively, and by an oriel of five lights in the east wall. In 
both rooms there is a waggon-roof of five cants boarded, and 
divided into panels by molded ribs with little bosses at the 
intersections (fig. 82). 
The blank wall at the north end of the west room is panelled 
with oak of an elaborate and beautiful design for a height of 
about 12 ft. (fig. 8
). The space above this is decorated with 
panels of plaster-work. The large square central panel contains 
the arms of the college; the circular panel to the west those of 
John \\"hitgift (Archbishop of Canterbury 1583-1604); and 



LlBRo\R\ OF 


the similar panel to the east those of Sir Henry Savile (\\'arden 






' p 


Fig. 81. Ground-plan of the Library at Merton College, Oxford. 

The east end of the south room is similar]y treated, but the 
oak panelling is less elaborate. In the pla
ter-work above it the 
arms of the college are flanked on the north by those of George 
Abbot (Archbishop of Canterbury 1611-1633) and on the south 
by those of Sir Nathaniel Brent (\Varden 1621- 16 5 I). 















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Fig, 8- 
" Book<,,
 in ,h ' 
. e west Librar 
}o.ul11 " I Y of Merton C 1 
. P 1ot""l"a l J I1 1 0 le g e 0 f 
., . J) II. \\' T ' x ord. 
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Both rooms are floored with rough oak planking. On this 
are laid four sleepers, each about 5 in. square, parallel with the 
side-walls. The two central sleepers have their outside edge 
roughly chamfered. Into these the bookcases and the seats are 
morticed. The central alley, 5 ft. wide, is in both rooms paved 
with encaustic tiles. 
In the west room there are twelve complete cases and four 
half-cases; in the south room there are twenty complete cases 
and two half-cases (fig. 81); in both rooms arranged in the usual 
manner with respect to the walls and windows. 
I n order to present as vivid an idea as possible of these 
beautiful cases, I reproduce here a photograph of a single 
compartment from the west library, with a seated reader at 
work (fig. 83). The case is made to look rather higher than it 
really is, but this distortion can be easily corrected by comparing 
the height of the standard with that of the seated figure. 
In the west room each case (figs. 82, 83) is 7 ft. 5 in. long. 
I ft. 5 in. wide and 6 f1. high from the top of the sleeper to the 
top of the cornice. The material is oak. The ends are nearly 
2 in. thick, and next the wall are shaped roughly with an adze. 
Each case is separated into t\"O divisions by a central partition; 
and originally there was a desk I ft. 3 in. wide on each side of 
the case. These desks were immoveable, and nailed to rough 
brackets. There were two shelves only to each case: one just 
above the level of the desk, and a second about half-way be- 
twecn it and the cornice (fig. 84). 
The system of ironwork by which the books were secured 
can be easily recovered by studying the scars on the ends of the 
cases next the central alley, At the lower end of the standard, 
two feet from the ground, was an iron bar which carried the 
chains of all the books which stood on the shelf just above the 
level of the desk, without reference to the side from which they 
were to be consulted. This bar \\'as secured by a separate hasp 
and lock. The bars for the upper shelf, one on each side of 
the case, were obviously secured by a system similar to that 
described abo\'e at Ilereford and Corpus Christi College. The 
whole system has been indicated on the elevation (fig. 84), which 
should be compared with the reproduction of one of the cases in 
the west room (fig. 83). Origind.lly no books stood below the 




desk. The comfort of readers was considered by the insertion 
of a bar of wood to rest the feet on, between the seat and the 
bookcase (fig. 84). 



-. (
I"OOV' f-or .h.ll 
f<U.d. "þ 

Old. "'.If on 
t'le.w þosLtLon 


Slot In } 
h"",,,,' "'\ 

Old. .h.{f 
old. duk 

n.... .hdf 

Foe< "'t 

0I.d.. rest few rc.a.d.e...


boCU"d..ed... tocr 


Fig. 84. Elevation of a bookcase and seat in the West Library at 
Merton College, Oxford. 
i\(easured and dra\\ß by T. D. Atkinson, A.-chitect. 

I n the south room the cases are on the same general p]an as 
in the west room; but the system of chaining appears to have 
been slightly different, and to have approximated more closely 
to what I may call the Hereford type. 
In both rooms each case has a picturesque enrichment 
at the end of the standard above the cornice, and a smaIl 
oblong frame just below it to contain the general title of the 
books within the case. The west room is devoted to LIBRI 
ARTIUl\1, with the exception of the three cases and the 
half-case at the north end of the east side, which are marked 
CODICES l\ISS. These are protected by latticed doors of 



18 3 

wood. In the south room the cases on the south side are 
all lettered L. THEOLOGIAE; on the north side the first 
three are lettered L. 
IEDICIXAE; the next L. l\IEDIC. 
IURISPP. and the last five L. I URIS PRVDEXTL-E. In 
this room the last cases at the east end on each side have 
latticed doors like those on the corresponding cases in the 
west room. 
The building of this library is recorded in four separate 
account-rolls extending from the beginning of the first year 
of Richard I I. to the third year of the same king, that is from 
1377 to 1379. From these documents it appears that the 
building cost .l462. IS. I lido 
From this first construction to the beginning of the sixteenth 
century-a space of 125 years-the accounts furnish us with no 
information; but, from what we learn afterwards, it would appear 
that the internal walls were unplastered, that the roof-timbers 
were unprotected, and that the only light was admitted through 
the narrow lancet \\ indows. 
I n 1502-3 the panel-work (cefatllra) on the roof of the west 
library was put up at a cost of .l27. 6s. ad. The account contains 
also a charge for painting the bosses VLOdi) at the intersection of 
the moldings that separate the panels. :\Ir Henderson points 
out that these ornaments prm-e the existing ceiling to be that 
put up in 1503; for among them are the Tudor Rose, the 
dolphin of Fitzjames (\\Oarden 1483-1507). and the Royal Arms 
u<;ed from Henry IV. to Elizabeth, but altered by James I. 
After this another long interval occurs during which no work 
done to the library is recorded; but in 1623 the south room was 
taken in hand, and the changes introduced into it were so 
extensive that it is referred to in the accounts as X ew Library 
(NO'i!a Bibfiotlteca), a name \\ hich it still retains. 
I n the first place the room at the east end (fig. 8 I) was 
thrown into it, and the oriel window constructed, together \\ ith 
the two large dormers on the side next the court (fig. 80). 
These works, by which light \\ as so largely increased, prove 
how gloomy the library must have been before they were 
undertaken. X ext, after important repairs to the \\ ails and 
floor, and the construction of the decorative plaster-work at the 
east end, the old bookcases were sold, and Bcnet the joiner 

18 4 



supplied twenty new cases and one half-case. The only old 
case remaining is, by tradition, the half-case against the screen 
on the north side as one enters from the vestibule. 
It is thercfore certain that the cases and seats in the south 
room date from 1623. It is unfortunately equally certain that 
we know nothing about the date of those in the west room; and 
we are therefore unable to say \\ hether the cases in the south 
room were copied from them in 1623, or whether thc re\'crse 
process took place at some unknown date. If we adopt the 
pleasing theory that in the west room we have very early cases, 
constructed possibly when the library was built, we must still 
admit that these relics of a remote past have been altered at 
some subsequent period, so as to be brought into conformity 
with the cases in the south room; for the cornices and 
the frames for the titles are precisely similar in the two 
The difference between the two sets of cases in the method 
of chaining, to which attention has been already drawn, may 
bear on the question of date. As time went on chaining would 
be modified in the direction of simplicity; and to replace a 
single central bar by two lateral ones is a step towards this, for 
undcr such conditions the addition or removal of a book would 
entail less displacement. Further, it must be recognised that 
thcse cases, whether extremely ancient or comparatively modern. 
differ in many particu]ars from those to be met with elsewhere. 
Thcy are lighter, narrower and more elegant. Again, when the 
ground-plan of the library is considered (fig. 81) it will be seen 
that their ends occupy nearly the whole space between a pair of 
windows. In other examples of the stall-system this is not the 
The only explanation I have to offer for the whole difficulty 
is the following. The library was constructed for the lectern- 
system, with wall-spaces not more than 2 ft. wide, and was 
so fitted up. \\'hen books had become numerous the western 
library was taken in hand, and the lecterns altered into stalls, 
the single central bar being retained. At the same time, in all 
probability, the dormers were inserted. It is remarkable that 
these changes should not be recorded in the accounts, but 
possibly they Were carried out as thc result of a special bene- 



18 5 

faction'. In 1623 the stalls which had been placed in the west 
room, having been found convenient, were copied for the south 
I will in the next place briefly notice the distinctive points 
of the other examples of the stall-system in Oxford. 
At S. John Baptist's College the library was built in 1596, 
and we may presume was fitted up soon afterwards, as \Vood 
records numerous donations of books in the years immediately 
succeeding, and the appointment of a keeper to take charge of 
them in 1603". This library, on the first floor of the south 
side of the second quadrangle, is 112 feet long by 26 feet wide, 
with eight windows of two lights in each wall. The bookcases, 
of which there are eight on each side between the windows, with 
a half-case against the west wall, are rather larger than those at 
Corpus Christi College, being 10 feet high, and 2 feet 6 inches 
wide. They have a classical cornice and terminal pediment. 
The titles of the subjects are painted at the tops of the stalls as 
at Merton College. A few traces of chaining are still to be 
detected. The desks ha\"e not been altered. Each is in two 
divisions, as at Corpus, separated by a central bracket, and it 
has the slit to admit the chains. The long iron hinges are 
evidently original. The seats resemble those at Corpus. 
The bookcases at Trinity College, set up in 1618, and those 
at Jesus College, made probably in 1679, call for no special 
Between 1598 and 1600 Sir Thomas Bodley refitted the 
library over the Divinity School. This noble room is 86 feet 
long by 32 feet wide. These dimensions contrast forcibly with 
those of the long narrow rooms to which we have been ac- 
customed; and it is prubably on account of the great width 
that the IO windows on each side have two lights apiece. At 
right angles to these walls, which face north and south, there are 
nine bookcases on a side with a l1dlf-case at each end. Here 
again we find so close a resemblance to the cases at Corpus 

, In Ihe bursar's accounts for ,60:', among other charges for the library, is the 
follo\\ing entry: .. pro pari cardinum ad sedem in bibliotheca 12 d ." If I am right 
in thinking that this refers to the dðks for the reader
 in the wc
t library it proves 
that the exi
ting caSt" had been set up he[ore 160:'. 
" \\"ood, ColI
gd .w.! lI.zlls, p. 5:'1. 




Christi College, that a particular description is unnecessary. It 
should be noted, however, that, as at S. John's College, they had 
been made of a greater height (8 feet 4 inches) in the first 
instance, so as to accommodate two shelves above that on the 
level of the desk. These sheh-es are proved to be original by 
the existence, at the juncture of the shelves with the upright 
divisions, of the plates of iron which originally carried the sockets 
for the bar. The rest of the ironwork has been removed, and it 
is difficult to detect traces of its former existence, because modern 
shelves have been set against the ends of the cases. The hole 
for the lowest bar, however, remains in the same relative position 
as at Corpus Christi College; and, as the ironwork for supporting 
the bars is identical with what still remains there, it seems safe 
to conclude that no new principle was introduced. The desks 
are modern, but the large and ornamental brackets which support 
them are original, and the iron hooks (fig. 79) still remain by which 
they were prevented from falling when turned up. The position of 
these hooks shews that each desk was 19 inches broad. There 
were originally seats between each pair of cases, as may be 
seen in Loggan's view of the interior of the library, where their 
ends arc distinctly shewn. 
A special feature of this room is the beautiful open roof, 
practically that which Sir Thomas Bod]ey put up in 1599. The 
principals and tie-beams are ornamented with arabesques, while 
the flat surface between them is di\'ided into square compart- 
ments on which are painted the arms of the University. On 
the bosses that intervene between these compartments arc the 
arms of Bodley himself. 
I mentioned at the beginning of this chapter that the stall- 
system had been represented in the library at Clare College, 
Cambridge. The old library was a long narrow room over the 
o]d chapel, and we know on the authority of \\ïlliam Cole) that 
it was" fitted up with wainscote Classes on both sides." These 
"classes" had been put up shortly before 1627, when the Duke 
of Buckingham, then Chancellor of the University, was taken to 
see them. When this library was pulled down in 1763 they 
were removed to the new library which had been fitted up 

) Ad,\, I\ISS. Mus. Brit. 5803, MSS. Cule, II. \I. 



18 7 

20 years previously. and ranged round the room in front of the 
modern shelves. They are splendid specimens of carpentrr- 
work, and bear so close a resemblance 
to the cases in the library of S. John's 
College, that it may be assumed that 
they were copied from them). \Yhen 
the removal took place they were a 
good deal altered, and a few years 
ago some fragments which had not 
been utiJised were found in a ]umber- 
closet. One of the standards (fig. 85), 
with its brackets, shews that the 
cases were once fitted with desks, the 
removal of \\ hich was ingeniously 
concealed by the insertion of slips of 
wood in the style of the older work 2 . 
I have not been able to discover any 
traces of chaining, but as there are a 
number of seats in the library, very 
like those in Corpus Christi College, 
Oxford, it is more thdn probable that 
chains were once employed. 
The stall-system was not only 
popular in Oxford itself, but was 
adopted as a standard for bookcases, 
and reproduced elsewhere. 
The first example I will cite is 
at \\'estminster Abbey3, where part 
of the dorter was fitted up as a 
Fig.8S. Stall-end in the Library 
library during the years 1623 and of Clare College, Cambridge. 
1624 by John Williams, Bishop of 
Lincoln and afterwards Archbishop of York, who was dean of 
\Vestminster from 1620 to his death in 1650. In the flowery 
rhetoric of his biographer Bishop Hacket: 



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, U I , 
, ;' 1 





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. , 



With the .same Generosity and strong propcnsion of mind to enlarge 
the Boundanes of Lcarning, he converted a wast Room, scituate in the 
) Arch. Hisl. III. ..
· 1 have described these fragments in Camb. AliI. Soc. Proc., \'oJ. \'111. p. 18. 
J See 111} paper in Camb. At/I. Soc. P".,-. and CO/ll11l., \"01. I\.. p. 3ï. 




East side of the Cloysters, into PlaM's Portico, into a goodly Library; 
model'd it into decent shape, furnished it with Desks and Chains, 
accoutred it with all "Ctensils, and stored it with a vast Numher of 
Learned Volumes '. 

This library-which has not been materially altered since 
162S-occupies the north end of what was once the dorter. It 
is 60 feet long, by 33 feet 4 inches broad. There are twelve 
bookcases-evidently the" desks" recorded by \Villiams' bio- 
grapher. Each is IO feet IO inches long, 2 feet broad, and 
8 feet 3 inches high, divided by plain uprights into three 
compartments. There are three shelves, below which is a desk 
for the reader, resting on brackets, and provided with the usual 
slit for the chains to pass through. These desks are hinged. 
The cases are quite plain, with the exception of a molded 
cornice; above which, on the end of each, is some scroll-work. 
There is also a small frame to contain the catalogue. It is 
probable that there were originally seats for readers between 
each pair of cases. I cannot discover any certain evidence of 
chaining, and yet "chains" are distinctly enumerated among 
the dean's benefactions. There are faint scars at the inter- 
section of some of the shelves and uprights which may be 
screwholes-but I cannot feel certain on the point. 
I have already given the plan of the cathedral library at 
\Vells (fig. 42). After the Restoration this building was re-fitted 
during the episcopate of Robert Creighton (Bishop 1670-1672), 
with the help of donations from the celebrated Dr Richard 
Busby, and Dr Ralph Bathurst, who was dean from 1670 to 
1704. It is important to remember that Bathurst was also 
master of Trinity College, Oxford, an office which he retained 
until his death. As he is described in the l\IS. List of Bene- 
factors preserved in the library as ha\'ing taken a foremost part 
in fitting it up (ill Bibliothecâ hac Ù/stauralldâ ÈP'YOÔU>>KT7J'>), 
the selection of the bookcases may with much probability be 
ascribed to him. His own college has still bookcases which 
once must have been excellent specimens of the stall-system. 
There are eight bookcases at \Vells, of plain unpainted deal, 
projecting from the west wall between the windows (fig. 42). 

1 Scr;n;a1"eserala: a MemoriaL.of John \\ïIli:>ms, D.D....By John Hackel. Fol. 
Lond. 1693, Pl" -f6, -f7. 



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I "100. oO tt 


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Fig. 87. Bookcases in the Library of Durham Cathedral. 
Frum a photograph, 



18 9 

They are 8 ft. 6 in. long, 8 ft. I in. high and 3 ft. broad. 
Seven of them have desks on both sides, but the last-that 
placed against the partition at the south end, which screens off 
a smalI room for a study-has a desk on one side only. There 
is no shelf below the desk, but two above it. They are fitted 
with the usual apparatus for chaining. Between each pair of 
bookcases, in front of the window, is a seat for the reader. 
These cases resemble so closely those at Corpus Christi ColIege, 
Oxford, that the source from which they were derived cannot 
be doubtful. 
Was this library ever chained? A Walton's Polyglot, 1657, 
had evidently been pre- 
pared for chaining, and 
in a novel fashion, the 
plate to carry the chain 
being attached to the 
left-hand board dose to 
the back of the volume 
(fig. 86)-so that it was 
evidently set on the shelf 
in the ordinary way, and 
not with the fore-edge 
turned to the spectator, 
as is usual in chained 
libraries. But with this Fig. 86. Ring for attachment of chain, Wells. 
exception I could not 
discover indications of the attachment of a plate on any of the 
volumes. If I am right in concluding that the books in this 
library were never chained, the cases are a curious instance of 
the maintenance of fashion. Dean Bathurst ordered a bookcase, 
and it was supplied to him with alI its fittings complete, whether 
they wcre to be used or not. 
:\Iy last example is from Durham Cathedral, where John 
Sudbury, dean from 1661 to 1684, fitted up the ancient Frater 
as a library. The room is about 115 feet long by 30 fect wide, 
with nine windows in each side-wall. Thcir silIs are ten feet 
from the ground. 
The cases (fig. 87) are evidcntly the work of a carpenter 
who WdS thuroughly cunversant with the stalI-system. They 






19 0 



had originally two shelves only above the desk, the entablature, 
now visible on the ends only, being carried along the sides. 
The shelf below the desk is also modern. These cases are tcn 
feet apart, and between each pair, instead of a reader's seat, is 
a dwarf bookcase terminating in a desk. Attached to it on 
each side is a seat conveniently placed for a reader to use the 
desk on the side of the principal case. 
I have shewn that the stall-system made its appearance at 
Oxford early in the sixteenth century, but I have not been 
able to discover who introduced it. My own impression is that 
it was monastic in its origin; and I can prove that it fits at 
least two monastic libraries exactly. This theory will aJso 
explain the prevalence of such cases at Oxford, and their 
almost total absence from Cambridge. where monastic influence 
was never exercised to the same extent. 
I will begin with Canterbury, where, as I mentioned above" 
the library was over the Prior's Chapel. The construction of 
this chapel is described as follows by Professor \Villis: 
Roger de S. Elphege, Prior from 1258 to 1263, completed a chapel 
bctween the Dormitory and Infirmary.... The style of its substructure 
shews that it was begun by his predecessor.... [It] is placed on the 
south side of the Infirmary cloister, between the Lavatory tower and 
Infirmary. Its floor was on the level of the upper gallery, and was 
sustained by an open vaulted ambulatory below. This replaced the 
portion of the original south alley [of the cloister] which occupied... 
that position.. ..But, as this new substructure was more than twice 
as broad as the old one, the chapel was obtruded into the small 
cloister-garth, so as to cover part of the façade of the Infirmary Hall, 
diminish the already limited area, and destroy the symmetry of its 
form 2. 

Above this chapel Archbishop Chichele built the library 
which Prior Sellyng fitted up. It stood east and west, and of 
course must have been of the same size as the chapel beneath 
it, namely, according to Professor \\'illis, 62 feet long on the 
north side, 59 feet long on the south side, and 22 feet broad. 
The door was probably at the south-west corner, at the head of 
a staircase which originally led only to the chapel beneath it. 

1 See above, p. 106. 
2 Arc/,. Hist. of..lIIollastery of Chr. Ch. Callt. 8vo, 1869. p. 6
. This chapel 
was pulled dO\\ n at the end of the 1 ith century and the present library, called the 
Howley library, built in its place. 



19 1 

From these measurements I have constructed a plan of the 
room (fig. 88), and of the bookcases which I am about to 
describe. The windows are 
of course imaginary, but, I 
submit, justified by the uni- 
form practice of medie\ al 
I am able to reconstruct 
this library because I have 
had the good fortune to come 
across a very curious docu- 
ment l which gives sufficient 
data for the purpose. It is 
contained in a MS. volume, 
now the property of the 
Dean and Chapter of Can- 
terbury, composed of several 
quires of paper stitched into 
a parchment cover. They 
once belonged to, and were 
probably written by, Brother 
\\ïlliam Ingram, \\"ho was 
ClIstos martirii in 1503; and 
in June 151 1 was promoted 
to the office of Pitancer. 
The accounts and memo- 
randa in the book are of a 
very miscellaneous character. 
The part which concerns the 
library consists of a note of 
the books which were re- Fig. 88. Conj
ctural plan orth
paired in 1508. This is Prior's Chap
1 at Christ Church. Cant






. . 

10 5 0 



I feci 

Repairs done to the books contained in the library Over the chapel 
of our lord the Prior, namely, in new byndyng and bord) ng with COVers 
and claspyng and chenyng, together with sundry books of the gift of the 

I I h:lVe to thank my friend 
Ir W. II. St John Hope, A,sislanI Secretary of the 
SocieIy of Antiquaries, for first drawing my attention to it; and the Dean and 
C.hapler of Canterbury for leave 10 use it. 

19 2 



aforesaid Prior, namely, in the year of our Lord 1508, and the year of 
the reign of King Henry YII., 23'. 
The writer goes round the room, beginning at the west end. 
He proceeds along the north side, and returns along the south 
side, to the point whence he started, enumerating on his way 
the bookcases and their sheJves, the volumes removed, and, 
occasionally, a note of the repairs required. For my present 
purpose I will content myseJf with his account of a single 
bookcase, the first on the list. The writer begins thus: "From 
the upper shelf on the east side in the first seat (de sllPcriori 
lexlu 2 EX oríellii parlc ill prima (sic) sedilc)." Three volumes are 
enumerated. "From the lower shelf (de Ùifcriori lexllt)," two 
volumes. "From the upper shelf on the other side of the same 
seat (de sll/,criori lexllt ex allcra parle cillsdcm sedilis)," seven 
volumes. "From the lower shelf (de Ùifcriori lexllt)," five 
volumes. In this way eight seats, i.e. bookcases, are gone 
through on this side of the room. The writer next turns his 
attention to the south side, and goes through eight more seats, 
beginning with: "From the east side of the upper shelf on the 
south side (de lexllt supcriori cx parlc altslrali Ùlcipimdo. hi 
parle orimlali)." The examination was evidently thorough, 
and, as the same number of seats is enumerated for each side 
of the room, we may, I think, safely conclude that all were 
examined, and that the whole number in the library was 
The passages I have quoted shew that each of these book- 
cases had an upper and lower sheJf on each side, on which the 
books stood, so as to be conveniently consulted by readers on 
each side; the books were chained; and, in consequence, there 
must have been a desk, presumably below the shelves on each 
side; and a seat for the reader. I have embodied these require- 
ments in the accompanying sketch or diagram (fig. 89), which 
indicates a bookcase of the same type as those at Corpus Christi 

1 Reparaciones facte circa libru, qui continentur in libraria supra capellam domini 
prioris videlicet in Ie new byndyng and bordyng cum coor-ertoriis and Ie claspyng and 
chenyng eciam cum diuersis libris ex dono eiusdem prioris videlicet Anno domini 
:\10 ccccc o viW and Anno Regni Regis henrici vijO xxiii. 

 This word seems to have been used at Canterbury to denote any piece of joinery. 
We have already seen it applied to a carrell (p. 99). 




College, Oxford. If we may suppose that each of these cases 
\\as two feet wide and eight feet long like those at l\Ierton 


Fig.8g. Sketch of the probable appearance of a bookcase, and a reader s seat, in 
the Library at Christ Church, Canterbury. 

College, we can accommodate eight cases on each side of the 
room (fig. 88), \\ith the same interval between each pair as at 
that college. 
Let us no\\ consider whether the library as thus arranged 
\\ ould ha\"C had sufficient shelf-room. Each bookcase being 
8 feet long would contain 32 feet of shelving, and the 16 ca-;es 
a total of 512 feet. The catalogue made in the time of Prior 
Henry of Eastry (1285-1331) enumerates 1850 volumes!. If 
we allow two feet and a half for every ten of these we shall 
require 462
 feet; or in other words we can arrange the whole 
collection in 14 stalls, leaving 2 O\er for the additions which 
must have been made in the interval between the middle of the 
14 th century and the date of Brotl1t:r Ingram's researches. 
I f the sketch here given of the probable aspect of the library 
elt Christ Church, Canterbury, be compared with the view of the 

I See above, p. !O
. The catalogue has been printeù by 1<"<lwards, 1I1mloll> of 
Iib1<IIÙs, I. pp. n


I ' 




library at l\1crton Collegc, Oxford (fig. 82), a fairly corrcct idea of 
a great conventual library will be obtaincd. A very slight effort 
of imagination is nccded to makc the necessary changes in the 
shelves, and to replace academic studcnts by Bcnedictine monks. 
Thcn, if \Vè conceive the shelves to be 10ddcd with manuscripts, 
many of which werc written in the early days of the English 
Church, we shall be able to rcalise the fcelings of Leland on 
cntcring the library at Glastonbury: 
I had hardly crossed the threshold when the mere sight of books 
remarkable for their vast antiquity flUed me with awe, or I might almost 
say with bewilderment: so that for a moment I could not move a step 
forward '. 

I propose in the next place to print a translation of the 
I ntroduction to thc catalogue 2 of the Bencdictine Priory of 
S. l\Iartin at Dover, which was d cell to Canterbury made 
in 13 8 9 by John \\'hytfdcl. This catalogue clues not indicate 
the stall-systcm; in fact [ am at a loss to definc the precisc 
system which it does indicate. I print it in this place on 
account of its internal interest, and the evidence which it 
alTorcls of the care taken in the last quarter of the fourtcenth 
century to makc books easily accessiblc to scholars. 
The present Register of the Library of the Priory of Dover, compiled 
in the year of the Lord's incarnation 1389 under the presidency of 
John Neunam prior and monk of the said church, is separated into 
three main di"isions. The object is that the first part may supply 
information to the precentor of the house concerning the number of 
the boob and the complete knowledge of them: that the second part 
may stir up studious brethren to eager and frequent reading: and that 
the third part may point out the way to the speedy fmding of individual 
treatises by the scholars. N ow although a brief special preface is 
prefn.ed to each part to facilitate the understanding of it, to this first 
part certain general notes are prefixed, to begin with, for the more 
plain understanding of the whole Register. 
Be it noted, then, first, that this whole Library is divided into nine 
several classes (Distinctions), marked according to the nine first letters 
of the alphabet, which are affi:\.ed to the classes themselves, in such 
a way that A marks out to him who enters the first Class, B the second, 

1 Yi" certè limen intraveram cum antiquissimorum librorum vel solus conspectus 
religioncm, nescio an stuporcm, animo incuteret meo; eâque de causâ, pedem 
paullul um sistebam. Leland, De Scriþt, Eli!. ed. Hall, I. ,p, 
= This catalogue is in thc Bodleian Library pISS. 920). I am indebted to my 
friend Dr James for the admirable translation which I herc IJlint. 




C the third, and so on in order. Each of the said nine classes, 
moreover, will be seen to be divided into seven shelves (grades), which 
are also marked off by the addition of Roman numeral figures, follO\\ ing 
the Idters which denote the classes. We begin the numbering of the 
shelves from the bottom, and proceed upnards so that the bottom shelf, 
\\ hich is the first, is marked thus, I; the second thus, II; the third 
thus, I I I; and so the numbering goes. 011 up to seven '. 
In addition to this, the books of the Library are all of them marked 
on e.lch leaf with Arabic numerals, to facilitate the ascertaining of the 
contents of the volumes. 
Kow since many of the volumes contain a number of treatises, the 
 of these treatises, although they have not always been correctly 
christened, are written down under each volumc, and an Arabic numeral 
is added to each name shewing on what leaf cach tract begins. To this 
number the letter .-\ or B is subjoined, the letter .\ hcre denoting the 
first page of the leaf, and the letter D the second. The boob them- 
selves, furthermore, ha\ e their class-letters and also their shelf-marks 
inserted not only outside on their binding;s, but also inside, accompany- 
ing the tables of contents at the beginning. To such class-letters a 
sm.lII .\rabic figure is added which shews clearly what position the book 
occupies in the order uf placing on the shelf concerned. 
On the second, third, or fourth leaf of the book, or thereabouts, 
on the loner margin the name of the book is written. Defore it are 
entered the above-mentioned class-letters and shelf-numbers, and after 
it (a small space intenoening) are immediately set down the words with 
which that leaf begins, which I shall can the proof of investigation 
(þrobalorÙlIIl coglliIÙmis). The Arabic figures ne"t follO\\ing will state 
how m.lny leaves are contained in the whole volumc; and finally 
another numeral immediately folIowing the last clearly sets forth the 
num ber of the tracts contained in the said volume. 
If then the above facts be securely entrusted to a retentive memory 
it will be clearly seen in what class, shelf, place and order each book 
of the whole I.ibrary ought to be put, and on what leaf and which side 
of the leaf the beginnings of the sever.11 treatises may be found. For 
it been the object of the compiler of this present register [and] 
of the Library, by setting forth a variety of such marks and notations 
of classes, shelves, order, pagination, treatises and \olumes, to insure 
for his monastery security from loss in time to come, to shut the door 
against the spite of such as might wish to despoil or bargain away such 
a treasure, and to sd up a sure bulwark of defence and resistance. Anù 
in truth the compiler will not be offended but wiII honestly love anyone 
who shall bring this register \\ hich is still faulty in IU,my respects- 
into better order, even if he should see fit to place his own name at 
the he,ld of the whole work. 
In the first part of the register, therefore, ne have throughout at 
the top, beh\een black lines ruled horizont.llly, first the class-letter, 
in red, and, following it, the shelf-mark, in bl.lck characters (/elris 

1 The won!- Ihu, Iran
lalcd arc: .. I ncil'icndu gra<luum compUlacionem a loco 
inferiuri in .\ltlllIl proceùendo \idclicet ul gradu
 infimus qui primus c
1 sic signclur I." 

13- 2 

19 6 



f{lla(lllis). Then again between other lines ruled in red, vertically: 
tirst, on the left a numeral shewing the place of the book in order on 
its shelf; then the name of the volume: thirdly, the number of the 
" probatory" leaf; fourthly, the "probatory" words (in the case of 
which, by the way, reference is made to the te'\t and not to the 
gloss); fifthly, the number of leaves in the whole volume; and, 
lastly, the number of the treatises contained in it -all written within 
the aforesaid lines. In addition there will be left in each shdf of this 
part, at the end, some vacant space, in which the names of books that 
may be subsequently acquired can be placed '. 
The meaning of the word "distinction" is the principal 
difficulty in the way of understanùing the abuve description. 
I thought at first that it denoted merely difference of subject, 
and that gradlls, as in the catalogue of Queens' College, 
Cambridge, was a side of a lectern. But the statement that 
the grades are numbered "from the bottom and proceed 
upwards" can hardly be reconciled with any arrangement of 
lecterns. Distinctio probably denotes a bookcase or press, 
divided into 7 grades, and probably placed against the wall, 
the word gradlls here meaning a flat shelf, instead of one set at 
an angle as in former instances. If this explanation be currect 
we have here a very early instance of shelves in such a position. 
My second example of a monastic library fitted up according 
to the stall-system is the library at Clairvaux. As I have al- 
ready printed a full description of it 2 , I need not do more In 
this place than translate the passage referring to the fittings: 
This library is 18 9 feet long, by 51 feet wide 3 . In it arc 4 8 seats 
(banes), and in each scat 4 shelves (poulpitrcs) furnished with books on 
all subjects, but chiefly theology....The building that contains the said 
library is magnificent, Imilt of stone, and e:'l.cellently well lighted on both 
sides with five large windows, well glazed. 
As there were so many as 48 bookcases, that is, 
4 on each 
side, the bookcases were evidently spaced without reference to 

I Dr James has pointed out (Camb. Aut. Soc. Oct. Publ., No. XXXII.) that there 
are six ;\ISS. from D,wer Priory among Archbishop Parker's l\I
S. at Corpus Chri,ti 
ColIegc, CamLridge. The first of these-a BiLle in two volumes-is entered in the 
catalogue of the Priory as A. I. 2, 3-that is to say it was in distÙlctio A, grad liS I, 
and the volumes stood second and third in the gradlls. 
" See above. p. I 12. 
3 The words are: "contient de longueur LXIII passées, et de largeur :'I.VII passées." 
I have taken one pace = 3 feet. 




the lateral windows, which were probably raised high above the 
The catalogue, from which I ha\'e already quoted the verses 
commemorating the building of the library, contains much 
useful information respecting the arrangement of the books. 
The \'crses arc succeeded by the following introductory notc : 

Repertorium omnium librorum in hac Clarevallis biblioteca existcn- 
tium a fratre 
[athurino de cangeyo eiusdem loci monacho non sint: 
magno labore editum. 


Pro intdligentia presentis tabule seu Repertorii, sciendum est quod 
a parte aquilonari collocantur libri quorum literc capitales nigre sunt, 
quorum \'t:ro rubre a parte australi. Et omnes in ea ordine alphabetico 
Utriusque autem partis primum analogium per litteram .\ signatur, 
secundum per litteram B, tt:rcium per littt:ram C, quartum per litteram 
I), quintum per litteram E. Et consequenter cetera analogi a per 
sequentes litteras alphabctica.<;. 
Quodlibet autem analogium quatuor habet partes. quarum prima 
signatur per litteram A, secunda per B, tercia per C, quarta per I>. 
Prime partis primi analogii primus liber signatur per .-\. a. I, 
secundus pt:r A. a. 2, tercius per . \. a. 3, et consequenkr. 
St:cunde partis primus liber signatur pt:r _\. b. I, secundus per 
.\. h. 2; et de conscquentibus similis est ordinatio. 
Tereie partis primus liber signatur per .\. c. I, secundus per .\. c. 2; 
et const:qut:ntcr. 
uarte partis primus liber signatur per A. d. I, seeundus per A. d. 2; 
et consequenter. 
[In this way five" analogi a " are enumerated] 
Et eadem est disciplina et ordinacio de ceteris analogiis prout 
hahetur in no\issimo quaterniont: eiusdt:m tabult:, immo et in fronte 
cuiuslibet analogii in tabella eidt:m appendt:nte. 
Hanc tabulam seu repertorium scripsit quondam frater Petrus 
mauray de Arecis oriundus. \'ivus vel dt:functus requiescat in bona 
st:mpcr pace. Amen. 

The most important passage in the abo\'e nute may be tl1Us 


For the right understanding of the present table or method of 
finding hooh (Iahtle SlIi rl'j>er/tJrLÏ) , } ou must know that on tht: north 
.,iùt: are ranged those books \\ hereof the capital letters are black; on 
t!1t: south side those whereof the capital Idkrs arc red. .\11 ,1re 'iet 
dO\\n in alphabetical order. 

I9 8 


[CIIAP. ,. 

On each side thc first desk (mzologi1l1J1) is markcd by the lettcr A; 
the second by the letter ll; [and so forth]. 
Each desk has four divisions, the first of which is marked by the 
letter a, the second by the lettcr b, the third by the lctter C, the fourth 
by thc lettcr d. The first book on the first shelf of the first desk is 
marked. \. a. i; the second A. a. ii ; [and so forth]. 
The catalogue as weII as the description makes it perfectly 
clear that each desk, that is to say, each bookcase, had four 
shelves; and further, as the authors of the Voyage Littérairc 
(I708) mention chainsl, it may be concluded that there were 
desks, and seats for readers, betwcen each pair of bookcases. If 
\\'e place two shelves on each side of the case we get a piece 
of furniture precisely similar to that in use at Canterbury. 

1 loyage Litt(ra;re, ed. lili. Part I. p. 102. 




HILE the "stall-system" was being generalIy 
adopted in England and in France, a different 
plan was being developed in Italy. It consisted 
in a return to the "lectern-system," \\ ith the 

 addition of a shelf below the lectcrn, on which 
the books lay on their sides when not wanted; 
and an ingenious combination of a seat for the reader with the 
desk and shel( 
The earliest library fitted up in this manner that I ha\"e been 
able to discover is at Cesena, a city of north Italy between 
Forli and Ravenna. It is practically in its original condition. 
I n the fifteenth century Cesena was governed by the powerful 
family of Malatesta, one of whum, Domenico Malatesta :'\ovello, 
built the library in 1452, and placed it under the charge of the 
convent of S. France"co" T\\'o burghers were associated \\ ith 
the Friars in' this duty. The library was always public. It was 
designed by l\Iatteo Xuzio of Fano, a celebrated architect of 
the day, as we learn from an inscription originally inserted into 
the waU on the right of the door of entrance, but now placed 
inside the library: 


T.' '\ T\"" . DE,I>\')I.!T. AD \',\[(;\"E\1. 




The general plan and arrangement will be readily understood 
from the ground-plan (fig. 90), and the longitudina] section 

- , 
. "- 
It -- 




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t ':





',,' ... 

, " 



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./ ' 

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="" ".""" , "'d

.c- .'-

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! --"'=---='"=-" 
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 1-..--.-._ - :-;.:-:
.- . 







::I' ; : , .,.....
, :b_=:1';ï -r:;....... 













D01..ble Ine Sl3e of Plð.n 

Figs. 90. 91. Ground-plan and section of Library at Cesena. 

(fig. 91), copied on a reduced scale from those given by the 
learned Giuseppe Maria Muccioli, who published a catalogue of 

'"J . -. 
.... - i> .... 


\ I 'Ii" 

I , I , I 
J I 





. I 


, , 

v-- , ... 

- \ - 

....-............ ... 






- --------, 




I t' 
.... . 
.c ..<:: 
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..... ..c 
o :::.. 

OJ ::: 
":; Ë 
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_. I 




the :\ISS. in the library in lï801, and al'io from the gcneral view 
of the interior (fig. 92). It is a long narrow building, 133 ft. 4 in. 
long, by 34 ft. broad 2 , standing east and west, so that its windows 
face north and south. It is on the first floor, being built O\'er 
<;ome rooms which once belonged to the convent, and is cntcred 
at the west end through a lofty marble doorway. Internally it 
is divided into thrce aisles, of which the central is the narrowest, 
by two rows of ten fluted marble columns. Against the side- 
walls and partly engaged in them, are two rows of similar 
columns. The aisles are divided by plain quadripartite vaults, 
resting partly on the central columns, partly on those engaged 
in the side-walls, into elevcn bays, each lighted by two windows 
(fig. 9 I). These aisles are about 12ft. wide. The central aisle, 
8 ft. 3 in. \\ iùe between the columns, has a plain barrel vault, 
extending from end to end of the building. 
The inAuence of the Renaissance may readily be detccted in 
the ornamentation of the columns, but traces of medie,"al forms 
still linger in the room. If the central alley were wider it might 
be taken for the nave of a basilica. 





Fig. 93. Bookcases at west end of south side of Library, Cesena. 
There are 29 bookcases in each aisle. Between each pair of 
ca<;es there is a wooden Aoor, raised 3! in. abo\"e the general 
level of the room; and there is an inten"al of 2 ft, 3 in. between 
the cases and the wall, so that access may be rcadily obtained 
to them from either end. The room is paved \\ ith unglazed tiles. 
The westernmost bay is empty (fig. 90), being used as a 
I Çatalogu
Iala,testianæ Cæ<enatis Ribliothecæ 
frat rum minorum fidei custodiæque concreòitæ...Auctore Josepho Maria Mucciulo 
eju-òem ordinis fratre ct Ra\ enna\Ís crenobii alumno. 2 vob. fo\. C'C'iCnæ, 1;80-8... 
" Th"..e me:r,uremenh "ere lak"n Joy 1II}_elf, "ith a t
pe, in S"pl"lIIher. IS')



[ CHAP. 

vestibu]e, and the first bookcase, if I may be allowed the ex- 
pression, on each side, is really not a bookcase but a seat (fig. 93)1. 
Thc construction of these cascs is most ingenious, both as 
regards convenience and economy of space. If they wcre 



.J ' 
















;S&. \ 






- ( 

1 1 ,1 






, ,I I 


'" IIU 


" I 

I - 
'" III'", 

I I I ,11111 I U 
 I II I 

Fig. 94. Part of a bookcase at Cesena to shew the system of chaining. 

designed by the architect who built thc room, he must ha\'c 
been a man of no ordinary originality. Each piece of furniture 
consists of a dcsk to lay the books on when wanted for use, 
a shelf for those not immediately required, and a seat for the 
reader, whose comfort is considcrcd by a gentle slope in the 
back (fig. 93). At the enù next thc central alley is a panel 
containing the heraldic devices of the Malatesta family. 

I The des\" bearing a single vulume shewn on this ,eat (fig. 93) is modern. 


CE"EK -\ 

20 3 

The principal dimensions of each case are as follows: 
J ength 10 ft. 2
Height . 4 ft. 2} in. 
\\Ïdth of seat 3 
t. I in. 
Width of foot-rest 11m. 
Height " 3
Height of seat from ground I ft. Ie!:- in. 
Width " I ft. .) iñ. 
1 >i"tance from desk to desk .) ft. I 111. 
.\ngle of slope of desk . 45 0 . 

The books are still attached 
to the desks by chains. The 
bar which carries them is in 
full \'iew just under the ledge 
of the desk (fig. 94), inserted 
into massi\'e iron stanchions 
naileò to the underside of the 
desk. There are four of these: 
one at each end of the desk, 
and one on each side of the 
central standard. The bar is 
locked by mean, of a hasp 
attacl1l:d to the standard in 
which the lock is sunk. 
The chains are of a novel 
form (fig. 95). Each link, about 
2! in. long, consists of a solid 
central portion, which looks as 
thuugh it were ca'it round a 
bent wire, the ends of which 
project beyond the ,olíd part. 
The chain is attached to the 
book by an iron hook screwed 
into the lower edge of the 
right-hand board ncar the 
The \'olume which I figure 
next (fig. 96), entitled LlI1IJC1J 
a1li1lJflc sell fiber 11loralitatu11I, 

",---=;,-:- 7 } ) 
' <<tf>>o' 
.. ,-" , "1 - :"1 
;<"},'<, ,.,; 
 j ,,' 







Fig. 95. Piece of a chain, Cesena. 

2 0 4 



was printed at Eichstädt in Bavaria, in 1479. :\1. Ferd. Vander 
Haeghen, librarian of Ghent, bought it in Hungary a fcw years 
since, and gave it to the library which he so ably directs. The 
chain is just 24 in. long. The links, of which there are ten, are 
slightly different from any which I ha\"e figured, each link being 






Fig. g6. Chained book at Ghent. 

compressed in the midd]e so that the two sides touch each 
other. There is no ring, but a link, rather larger than the 
rest, is passed round the bar. It will be observed that the 
chain is fastened to the left-hand board, and not to the right- 
hand board as in Italy. The presence of a title written on 

\ I] 

I'-\J{K, FLORFt\CE: \lO

20 5 

parchment kept in place by strips of leather, and five bosses 
of copper, shew that the left-hand board was uppermost on the 
desk. The position of the chain shews that when it was 
attached thc book was intended to lie on a desk, where the 
bar must ha\"c bcen in front of, or below, the desk; but there 
is also a scar on the upper edge of the right-hand board, which 
shews that at some prcvious period it lay on a desk of what 
I may call the Zutphcn type, where the bar was abo\'e the sloping 
\\ïth the library at Cesena may be compared that at:achcd 
to thc Dominican Convent of S. Mark at Florence, built in 144 1 
for Cosmo dei l\Icdici-the first public library in Italy. It is on 
the first floor, and is approached by a staircase from the cloister. 
It is qX ft. long by 34 ft. 6 in. wide1, dividcd into thrce ais]es 
by two rows of eleven columns. The central aisle, 9 f1. wide 
between the columns, has a p]ain barrel vault; thc sidc aisles, 
I I ft. wide, have quadripartite vaults. In each of the side-walls 
there are twelve windows. In all these dctails the library re- 
sembles that at Cesena so closely that I cannot help suspecting 
that l\Ialatesta or his architect may have copied it. 
The original fittings have been removed, but wc learn from 
the catalogue 2 that the books were originally contdined in 64 
balldÚ, half of which were on the cast side and half on the west 
side of the room. There was an avcrage of about sixteen books 
to each blwclms. The catalogue also mentions a Greek library, 
which had sevcn ballclti on each side. This was probably a 
separate room. 
There is a similar library at the Benedictine Convent of 
:\Ionte Oliveto, near Siena, but it is on a much smaller scale. 
Like the others, it is divided into thrcc aisles by two rows of six 
columns. The central aisle has a barrel vault, and the side aisles 
quadripartite ,"aults. It is 
5 ft. long by 32 ft. bWdd. There 
are seven windows on one sidc only. At thc cnd of the library, 
dpproached by a flight of thirteen stairs, is a room of the same 
\\idth and 21 ft. long, "hich may have been used as an inner 

1 These measurements \\erc taken by my,clf with a tape, in April 1898, and 
\crified in April 1899. 
! Thi, catalogue i, in the State Archives at )'Iodcna. 




library. An inscription over the door of entrance records that 
this library was built in 15 161 . 
\\'hile discussing the arrangements of Italian libraries, I 
must not omit that at the Convent of S. Francis at Assisi". The 
catalogue, dated I January, 1381, shews that the library, even at 
that comparatively early date, was in two divisions: (I) for the 
use of the brethren; {2) for loans to extraneous persons. This 
cdtalogue, after a brief preface stating that it includes" all the 
books belonging to the library of the Holy Convent of S. Francis 
at Assisi, whether they be chained, or whether they be not 
chained," begins as follows: 

In the first place we make a list of the books which are chained 
to benches (ballchi) in the Puhlic Library as follows, and obsene 
that all the leaves of all the books which are in this catalogue, whether 
they are in quires of 12, 10, S, or any other number of lea\es larger or 
smaller, -e\ery one of the:--e books contains the denomination of the 
quire:--, as appears in the first quire 
of each book on the lower margin: all 
the quires being marked at beginning 
and end in black and red with the 
figure here she\\ n, and the number of 
the quire within it. 

loreover, the letters of the alpha- 
bet that are placed on the top of the 
cmers ought all to be fairly large and 
entirely black, as marked below [in this catalogue] at the end of each 

( .. 
- -.: t\-[':n- 
r-- f' m . <} t e:H. ---...---' 
. J . f . 
. .. . 
.. .. 

This introduction is succeeded by the list of books. They 
are chained to nine benches on the west side of a room, and to 
the same number on the east side. The total is 170. 

] I vi,ited Monte Oliveto 19 April, 18 99' 
2 See Ueber Jlittdaltcrlid,e Bib/iotl,d.:m, v. T. Colllicb. 
,ho, 1890, p. 181. 
I have twice ,i,ited .\"bi a1ll1 cxamined the Catalogue herc refcrred to. l\Iy Lcst 
than\.., arc due to Professor Alcssanòri for gÏ\ ing me every assistance in my rcscarchcs. 
J Inprimis facimus inventarium de in liLraria puLlica ad Lancos cathenatis in 
hunc n\OdulU. Et nota, quoò omnia folia omniulU liLrorum, ljui sunt in isto 
inuentario sive per sextemos vel quintelnos aut quaternos seU qucnl\is per alium 
numerum maiorem vel minorem omne, quotljnot sunt, nomina quaternorum lcnt,nt, 
ut apparel in quolihet libro in primo quaterno in margine inferiori; quare OIlmes sunt 
ante et retro de nigro et rubeo per talem figuram intus cnm suo numero signati. 
Item lictere alphaLeti, qui desuper postes ponuntur, omnes deLent esse aliquanWlum 
gro"e ct totaliter nigrc, sicut infcrius in fine cuiuslibet Iibri signatur. The spots round 
this ligure are alternately Llack and reÒ. 

\ I] 


20 7 

The second part of the catalogue has the follo\\ ing heading: 
In the name of the Lord, .\mel1. Here begins the list of all the 
books which are in the Reserved Library (/ibrarÙz secreta) of the 
Holy Coment of S. Francis at .\ssisi, appointed to be lent to prelates, 
masters, readers, bachelors, and all other brethren in orders, according 
as the amuunt of knowledge or line of study of each demand
This part of the collection is contained in cleven presses (for 
which the unusual word so!arÙi1Il l is used) arranged along the 
east and west walls of a room, but whether the same as the 
last we are not informed. The number of manuscripts is 530. 
A considerable number of the manuscripts here registered 
still exists. They are well taken care of in the To\\ n Hall, and a 
list of them has been pri\'dtcly printed. Se\erdl are in their 
original condition, bound in boards about a qual ter of an inch 
thick, cO\-ered with white leather. The title, written on a strip 
of parchment, is pasted on the top of the right-hand buard. 
It usually begins \\ ith a capital letter in red or black, denoting 
the desk ur press in which a given MS. would be found, thus: 
I ..... PostiIlJ. 
-1 Nicobi de I}ra Super psalmos 
reponatur uersus orientem in bJ.nco \t. 

I n the next place I will tell at length the story of the 
establishment of the Vatican Library by Pope Si
tus I V., as 
it is both interesting in itself and useful for my present purpose2. 

1 Ducange s, v. solariulIl shews that occasionally it=arl/lariul/l. 
1 I have to thanJ" F.\Iher C. J. EhrIe, ,!): J., I'refect of the Vatican I ibrary, for 
the very 
rcat J"il1llne
3 with which he ha, a
ted me in the
e re
earches dUTIng three 
,i_it> to Rome in 1 !;
8, I 
91), 1900; and also the officials "ho allm, ed me to examine 
parts of the palace not u_ually acce
,ible to 
Further, I wi
h it to he clearly and di,tinctly under
tood Ihat my researches are 
I.a_ed upon an es
ay by 
L Paul Fabre, l.a Vaticcllle d.:!>ï! lV., \\hich had appeared 
in the .J1.7a11ges ,f.Jrdl/ologle d d'HlStoir. of the E,ole F"mraise ,ie ROllle for 
December I8
.::, but of the exi
tence of \\hich I had ne'er heard until Fo.1ther EhrIe 

he'\t,d it to me. On reading it. I found that 
L Fabre had completely anticipated 
me; he had done exactly what I had come to ROllle to do, and in 
ueh a mæ.terly 
f""hion that I could not hope to improve upon hb worJ". After 
ollle consideration I 
determined to verify his conclusions by carefully examining the locality, and to maJ"e 
a fresh ground-plan of it for my o\\n u
e. I ha'e also 
tudi(,d the authorities quoted 
by 'L Eugène 
hinIz (/.l's Arts Ii la Cour des Fapu) from my 0\\ n point of view. 
I"hcre are t\\O worJ"s to which I 
hall frequently refer: La Arts à la Cour des 
"<lId pmdtlllt Ie .xv' d Ie xvi
de. par Eugène J\lüntz: Part III. I
ljJ (Bibl. des 
LC"IC_ r,.mçai""s d'Atht:l1c
 el de Rome, Fa
c. 2H), and LIZ Bil/ioth,"I"c till látÍ<all 



[ CHAP. 

The real founder of the Vatican Library, as we understand 
the term, was i\icholas V. (1447-1455), but he was unable to 
do more than co\1ect books, for which no adequate room 
was provided till the accession of Sixtus IV. in 1471. In 
December of that year, only four months after his election, 
his chamberlain commissioned five architects to quarry and 
convey to the palace a supply of building-stone" for use in a 
certain building there to be cunstructed for library-purposes 1 " ; 
but the scheme for an independent building, as indicated by the 
terms here employed, was soon abandoned, and nothing was 
done for rather more than three years. In the beginning of 
14ï5, however, a new impulse was given to the work by the 
appointment of Bartolommeo Platina as.Librarian (28 February)'; 
and from that date until Platina's death in 14 S I it went forward 
without let or hindrance. This distinguished man of letters 
seems to have enjuyed the fu\1 confidence of the Pupe, to have 
been liberal1y supplied with funds, and to have had a free hand 
in the employment of craftsmen and artists to furnish and 
decorate his Library. It is pleasant to be able to record that 
he lived to see his work completed, and a\1 the books under his 
charge catalogued. The enumeration of the volumes contained 
in the different stans, closets, and coffers, with which the 
catalogue of 14 S1 concludes, is headed by a rubric, which 
records, with pathetic simplicity, the fact that it was drawn 
up "by Platina, ]ibrarian, and Demetrius of Lucca his pupil, 
keeper, on the 14th day of September, 14 81 , only eight days 
before his death 3." 

all xv' Sièc/e, par Eugène 
liintz et Paul Fabre; Paris, 1 88 7 (Ihid. Fasc. ..8). The 
furmel will he cited as "I\liintz'.; the latter as "I\Hintz t't Fahre." ?>Iy paper, of 
"hieh an abstract only is here given, has been publishc<1 in the Camb. ..lIlt. Soc. 
l'roc. allii COllllll. 6 l\Iarch 1899, Vu\. x. pp. 11-61. 
I This document, dated 17 December, "'71, has been printed by :\JiintL, p. 120. 
I am afraid that this order can have but one meaning: viz. the excavatiun and 
destfllction of ancient buildings. 
" This is the date assigned by I'latina hinlself. See below, p. 23 1 . 
3 :\IS. Vat. Lat. 39..7, fol. 118 b. Notatio omnium librofllm llibliothecæ Plllatinæ 
Sixti quarti Pont. l\Iax. tam qui in banchis quanl qui ir Armariis et capsis sunt a 
Platyna Bibliothecario et Demetrio Lucense eius alumno custode die xiiii. mensis 
Septemb. !II.CCCC.L
 XXI facta. Ante vero eius deccssum dicrum octo tantummodu. 
This I\'otatÏo has been printed. l\liintz et Fabre, p, 1
0, but without the catalogue to 
"hich it fomb an appendix. This, so far a
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It IS evident that the Library had suffered considerably 
from the negligence of those in whose charge it had been. 
Many volumes were missing, and those that remained were in 
bad condition. Platina and his master set to work energetically 
to remedy these defects. The former engaged a binder, and 
bought materials for his use l ; the latter issued a Bull (30 June) 
of exceptional severity!!. After stating that "certain ecclesiastical 
and secular persons, having no fear of God before their eyes, 
have taken sundry volumes in theology and other faculties 
from the library, which volumes they still presume rashly and 
maliciously to hide and secretly to detain"; such persons are 
warned to return the books in question within forty days. If 
they disobey they are zpso facto excommunicated. If they are 
clerics they shall be incapable of holding livings, and if laymen, 
of holding any office. Those who have knowledge of such 
persons are to inform against them. The effect produced by 
this document has not been recorded; nor are we told what the 
extent of the loss was. It could hardly have been very extensive, 
for a catalogue which Platina prepared. or perhaps only signed, 
on the day of his election, enumerates 2527 volumes, of which 
770 were Greek and 1757 Latins. The number of the ]atter had 
more than doubled in the twenty years that had elapsed since 
the death of Nicholas V., an augmentation due, in all probability, 
to the activity of Sixtus himself 
The place selected to contain this extensive collection was 
the ground-floor of a building which had been erected by 
l\'"icholas V. and subsequently used as a provision store. The 
position of it, and its relations to neighbouring structures, will 
be understood from the accompanying plan (fig. 97), which I 
borrow from 1\1. Fabre's paper. In order to shew how the 
building was arranged when it was first built, before other 
structures abutted against it, I have prepared a second plan 
(fig. 98) drawn from measurements taken by myself 
The floor is divided into four rooms by party-walls which 
are probably older than 14ï5, but which are proved, by the 
catalogue of 1481, to have been in existcnce at that period. 

1 I\Iiintz et Fabre, pp. q8-I 50, passim. 
3 Ibid. p. 141. The catalogue is printed pp. I
c. L. 

2 Ibid. p. 3 2 , 






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Fig. 97. Ground-plan of part of the Vatican Palace, shewing the building of Nicholas V., as' 
arranged for library purposes by Sixtus IV., and its relation to the surrounding structures. 
From Letarouilly. Le Va/iran, fol. Paris, 1882 1 as reproduced by 1\1. Fabre. 

\ I] 



The first of these rooms, entered directly from the court, con- 
tained the Latin Library; the second, the Greek Library. These 
two, taken together, formed the Common, or Public, Library 
(Bib/iotheca comlllllllis, B. publica, or merely Bibliothcca). Xext 
to this room, or these rooms, was the Bibliotncca secreta or 
Reserved Library. in which the more precious :\JSS. were kept 
apart from the others. The fourth room, which was not fitted 
up till 1480 or 1481, was called Bibliothcca þOlltificia. In 
addition to :\ISS. it contained the papal archives and registers 
(Regesta). In the catalogue dated 1512 it is called Illtima et 
ultima secretior bibliothcca, and seems to have contained the 
most valued treasures. This quadripartite division is com- 
memorated by Aurelio Brandolini (Epigram xn.)I. After 
alluding to the founders of some of the famous libraries of 
antiquity, he says in conclusion: 
Bibliotheca fuit, fateor, sua cuique, sed vna. 
Sixte pater vincis: quatuor vnus habes. 
Thanks to the care with which Platina set down his 
expenditure,' we are able to follow step by step the gradual 
transformation of the rooms. His account-books!!, begun 30 June 
1475, record, with a minuteness as rare as it is valuable, his 
transactions with the different artists and workmen whom he 
thought proper to employ. It was evidently intended that 
the library should be beautiful as well as useful, .and some 
of the most celebrated artists of the day were set to work 
upon it. 
The ]ibrarian prudently began in August, 1475, by increasing 
the light, and a new window was made" on the side next the 
court." It seems to have been impossible to get either workmen 
or materials in Rome; both were supplied from a distance. For 
the windows, glass, lead and solder were brought from Venice, 
and a German, called simply Hormannus, i.e. Hermann, was 
hired to glaze them. For the internal decuration two well-known 
Florentine artists-the brothers Ghirlandajo-werc engaged, with 

1 :'Irs. Val. 
, These accounts, now preserved in the State Archives at Rome, have been printed 
\\ ith great accuracy (so far as I was able to judge from a somewhat haSly collalion) by 
:'IhinIz, Les Arts à la Cour des Paþes, Vol. III. 1882, p. 121 5<1-; and Ly :\hinlz and 
Fabre, La Bibliotlzb/llc ,ill Vatican all.J.V Sijcle, 18t!j, p, q8 sq. 




[CH AP. 

l\1eJozzo da Forli. who was painting there in 1477'. In 147 6 
the principal entrance was decorated with special care. Marble 
was bought for the doorcase, and the door itself was studded 
with 95 bronze nails, which were gilt, as were also the ring and 
knocker, and the frame of trellised ironwork (collcellus), which 
hung within the outer door. 
The building is entered from the Cortile del Paþagallo' 
through a marble doorway (fig. 98, A) in the classical style 
surmounted by the arms of Sixtus IV. On the frieze are the 
words SIXTUS PAPA nn. The doorcase is doubtless that made 
in 1476 j but the door, with its gilt nails and other adornments, 
has disappeared. \\ïthin the doorway there has been a descent 
of three steps at least to the floor of the Library3. The four 
rooms of which it was once composed are now used as the 
Floreria or Garde-lIleublc of the Vatican Palace; a use to which 
they have probably been put ever since the new Library was 
built at the end of the sixteenth century. 
The Latin Library, into which the door from the court opens 
directly, is a noble room, 58 ft. 9 in. long, 34 ft. 8 in. wide, and 
about 16 ft. high to the spring of the vault. In the centre is 
a square pier, which carries the four plain quadripartite vaults, 
probably of brick, covered with plaster. The room is at present 
lighted by two windows (B, C) in the north wall, and by another, 
of smaller size, above the door of entrance (A). That this latter 
window was inserted by Sixtus IV., is proved by the presence 
of his arms above it on a stone shield. This is probably the 
window" next the court" made in 1475. The windows in the 
north wall are about 8 ft. high by 5 ft. broad, and their sills are 
7 ft. above the floor of the room. Further, there were two 
windows in the west wall (b, c) a little smaller than those in 

1 The entries referring to these purchases are given in full, with translations, in 
my paper above referred to. 
2 The name is derived from the frescoes with which its external walls were 
decorated during the reign of Pius IV. (I559-1
65). They represented palm trees, 
on which parrots (Papagalli) and other birds were perching. Fragments of these 
frescoes are still to be setn. The court beyond this" del Portoncin di Ferro" was so 
called from an iron gate by which the passage into it from the Cortile del Papagallo 
could be closed. 
3 The difference of level between the floor of the court and the floor of the library 
is eighteen inches. An inclined plane of wood now replaces the steps. 




the north wall, and placed at a much lower level, only a few 
feet above the floor. These were blocked when the Torre 
Borgia was built by Alexander VI. (1492-1503), but their 
position can stilI be easily made out. This room must have 
been admirably lighted in former days. 
The room next to this, the Greek Library, is 28 ft. broad 
by 34 ft. 6 in. long. It is lighted by a win<low (fig. 98, D) in 
the north wall, of the same size as those of the Latin Library, 
and by another (ibid., E) a good deal smaller, opposite to it. 
This room was originally entered from the Latin Library by 
a door close to the north wall (d). Rut, in 1480" two large 
openings (e, f) were made in the partition-wall, either because 
the )jght was found to be deficient, or because it was thought 
best to throw the two rooms into one as far as possible. At 
some subsequent date the door (d) was blocked up, and the 
opening next to it (e) was carried down to the ground, so as to 
do duty as a door. The other opening (f), about 7 ft. 6 in. 
square, remains as constructed. 
The decorative work of the brothers Ghirlandajo can stilI 
be made out, at least in part, though time has made sad havoc 
with it. The edges of the vaulting were made prominent 
by classical moldings coarsely drawn in a dark colour; and at 
the key of each vault is a large architectural ornament, or coat 
of arms, surrounded by a wreath of oak-leaves and acorns, to 
commemorate the Della Rovere family. They are tied together 
on each side with long flaunting ribbons, which, with their 
shadows, extend for a considerable distance over the vaults. 
The semi-circular lunettes in the upper part of the wdll under 
the vaults are all treated alike, except that those on the sides of 
the room, being larger than those at the ends (fig. 98), contain 
two subjects instead of one. The lower part, for about 3 feet 
in height, is painted to represent a solid marble balcony, behind 
which a Doctor or Prophet is supposed to be standing. He is 
visible from rather below the waist upwards, and holds in his 
hand a scroll bearing an appropriate text. On each side of the 
figure in the smaller lunettes, resting on thc balcony, is a large 

1 Item pro purganda bibliotheca \"eteri et asportandis calcinaciis duarum fene
trarum factarum inter græcam et latinam b. xx die qua supra, i.e. 20 Aug. q
)hintz, p. 132. 

21 4 



vase of flowers; and behind it a clear sky. Round the upper 
edge of the lunette is a broad band of oak-leaves, and fruits 
of various kinds. The figures, of which there were evidently 
twelve originally, are the foJIowing, beginning with the one at 
the north-east corner over the door leading into the Greek 
Library, and proceeding to the right: 


HIERONYMUS. Scimtiam scripturarum ama, et vitia carms 
11011 a mabis. 
GREGORIUS. Dei sapim/iam sardonyco et zaphyro 1/011 cOlifer. 
THOMAS. Legmd illegible. 
BONAVENTURA. Frllctus scripturæ est plmiludo æter1iæ felici- 
AUGUSTINUS. ,to/ihil beatills esl quam semper aliquid legere 
aut scrivere. 
A!\IBROSIUS. Diligmliam circa scripturns sallctorum posui. 




Le.r;mds Illegible. 


Jerome and Gregory occupy the east wall; Thomas Aquinas 
and Bonaventura the first lunette on the south \VaJI, over the 
door of entrance; Aristotle and Diogenes the next, succeeded 
by Cleobulus and Antisthenes on the west waJI; on the first 
lunette on the north wall are Socrates and Plato; in the second 
Augustine and Ambrose, facing Aquinas and Bonaventura. Thus 
the eastern half of the library was presided over by doctors of 
the Christian Church, the western by pagan philosophers. 
The space on the north waJI (gll), nearly opposite to the door 
of entrance, was occupied by the fresco on which l\Ielozzo da 
Forli was working in 1477. It was intended to commemorate 
the establishment of the Library in a permanent home by 
Sixtus the Fourth. The Pope is seated on the right of the 
spectator. On his right stands his nephew, Cardinal Pietro 
Riario, and before him, his head turned towards the l'ope, to 
whom he seems to be speaking, another nephew, Cardina] 
Giuliano della Rovere, afterwards Pope Julius the Second. 
At the feet of the Pope kneels Bartolommeo Platina, the newly 




appointed Librarian, who is pointing with the forefinger of his 
right hand to the inscription below the fresco. Behind Platina 
are two young men with chains of office round their necks. 
The inscription, said to ha\'c been written by Platina himself, is 
as follows: 


The fresco is now in the Vatican picture-gallery. It was 
transferred to canvas soon after ISIS, when the present gallery 
was formed, and has suffered a good deal from what is called 
restoration ". 
The decoration of the Greek Library is not alluded to in 
the Accounts S ; but it is easy to see that the lunettes have been 
ornamented on the same system as those of the Latin Library, 
but without figures; for their decoration still exists, though 
much damaged by time and damp. Beluw the lunettes the 
walls are covered with whitewash, under which some decoration 
is evidently concealed. The whitewash has peeled off in some 
places, and colour is beginning to make its appearance. 
The Bibliothcca secreta is 20 ft. wide by 38 ft. 6 in. long. It 
is lighted by a single window in the north wall (fig. 98, F), of the 
same size and shape as the rest. The light is sufficient, even 
under present conditions. 
The fourth and last room-spoken of in 1480 as "that 
addition which our Master lately made "-is 29 ft. wide by 
40 ft, 6 in. long. It is at present lighted by only a single 
window in the north wall (fig. 98, G), and is very gloomy. But 

1 A Foundling Hospital, alluding to the Ospcdale di Santo Spirito founded by 
Sixtus I\'. 
I Fabre, La Vt,tÏt:alle, p. ..(j... Bunsen, Die Bt'schrt'ibzmg d r Stadt ROlli, ed. 
1832, Vol. II. Part 2, p. ,,18. 
3 The follO\\ ing entry is curious: IIabuere Paulus et Diony
ius rictorcs duos 
ducatos pro duobus paribus caligarum qua
 petiere a domino nostro dum pingerent 
cancellos bibliothecæ et restituerent picturam bibliothecæ græcæ, ita u. Sanctita< sua 
manda\it, die XVIII martii qj!S. )'Iünlz, p. 131. 




in former days, before Julius I I. (1503-1513) built the Cortile 
di Sail Damaso, it had another window in the middle of the 
east wall (ibid., H), where there is now a door. Nothing certain 
can be made out about its decoration. 
It is much to be regretted that so little is said about the 
glazing of the windows throughout the Library. Great care was 
evidently bestowed upon them, and the engagement of foreign 
artists, with the purchase of glass at Venice, are proofs that 
something specially beautiful was intended. Coloured glass is 
mentioned, which may have been used either for coats of arms- 
and we know that the Papal Arms were to be set up in the 
Bibliotlleca secreta-or for subjects. But, in forming conjectures 
as to the treatment of these windows, it should be remembered 
that the transmission of light must always have been the first 
consideration, and that white glass must have preponderated. 
The rooms for the Librarian and his assistants were in a 
small building which abutted on the Library at its S.\V. corner, 
and stood between the two courts, obtaining light from each. 
Over the door of entrance was the inscription: 

The accommodation provided \Vas not magnificent, t\\'o 
rooms only being mentioned. A door (fig. 98, a), now blocked, 
gave access to the Library from this building. It is interesting 
to note, as a proof of the richness of all the work, that it was 
of inlaid wood (pÍllO Ï11tarsiata). 
The work of fitting up this Library occupied about six 
years. It began in September 14ï5, and proceeded continuously 
to January 14ï7, when Melozzo's fresco was in progress. In 
December of that year the windows of the Bibliothcca secreta 
were begun; but during 1478 and 1479 nothing was done. 
In 1480 work \Vas resumed, and the last payment to painters 
was made in 148 I. 
Let us now consider how these rooms were fitted up for the 
reception of books. I will first collect the notices in the 
Accounts respecting desks, or bmlchi, as they are called, and 

1 Fabre, La Valicalle, p. +65, citing Bandini, Bibliolhecæ lIfediao-I allrmtiaJlLP 
{alaloglls, I. p. xxxviii. 



21 7 

then compare them with the rooms themselves, and with the 
descriptions in the catalogues, which are fortunately extremely 
full; and I think that it will be possible to give a clear and 
consistent picture of the arrangements. 
Platina ordered the desks for the Latin Library first, in 
1475. This is set down in the following terms: 
I have counted out, in the presence of Clement, steward of the 
household of His Holiness our Master, Salvatus the library-keeper 
(/ibrarilis), and Demetrius the reader (lector), 45 ducats to Francis 
the carpenter of Milan, now dwelling in the tishmarket of the city 
of Rome, towards making the desks in the library; and especially 
ten desks which stand on the left hand, the length of which is 38 palms 
or thereabouts; and so having received a part of the money, the total 
of which is 130 ducats, he promises and binds himself to do that which 
it is his duty to do, this 15th day of July, 1475 1 . 
The full name of this carpenter is known, from his receipts, 
to have been Francesco de Gyovane di Boxi da Milano. He 
received in all 300 ducats instead of the 130 mentioned in the 
first agreement, and when the last payment was made to him, 
7 June, 147 6 , the following explanatory note is given: 

Moreover I have paid to the same [Francis the carpenter] 30 ducats 
for what remains due on 25 desks for the Library: for the longer ones, 
which are 10 in number, there were paid, as entered above, 130 ducats; 
for the rest there were paid 170 ducats, making a total of 300 ducats, 
and so he has been paid in full for all the desks, this 7th day of June, 
147 62 . 
In 1477 the furniture for the next room, the Bibliothcca 
secreta or I nner Library, was begun. The work was entrusted 
to a Florentine, called in the Accounts merely 31 agister Joall- 
11Ùms faber ligllarius de Florentia, but identified by 1\1. Fabre 

1 Enumeravi, præsente Clemente synescalcho familiæ s. d. n., Sah"ato librario, eI 
Demetrio lectore, ducatos XLV Francischo fabro lignario mediolanensi habitatori 
piscinæ urbis Romæ pro hanchis Bihliothecæ conficiendis, ma"ime vero decem quæ 
inistram jacent, quorum longitudo est XXX\'III palmorum, vel circa, et ita accepIa 
parte pecuniarum, cujus summa est centum et xxx ducatorum, factm um se debitum 
promiuit et obligat, die xv Julii Q7.". 'hintz, p. 121. 
2 Item solvi eidem ducatos ""XX pro reliquo XX\' hanchorum bihliothecæ: pro 
longioribus autem qui sunt X solvehantur centum et triginta, ut supra scriptum est; 
pro reliquis solveb..mtur centum et septuaginta; quæ summa est tricentorum ducatorum : 
atque ita pro banchis omnibus ei satisfactum est, die \ II Junii Q76. 'Hintz, p. 126. 
The rest of Ihe money had been paid to him by instalments between If> July, I..7=" 
and this date. 




with Giovannino dei Dolci, one of the builders of the Sistine 
chapel. The most important entry referring to him is the 

Master Giovannino, carpenter of Florence, had from me Platyna, 
librarian of His Holiness our Master, for making the desks in the inner 
library, for the great press, and the settle, in the said room-all of 
which were estimated by Master Francis of Milan at one hundred and 
eighty ducats-he had, as aforesaid, sixty-five ducats and sixty groats 
on the 7th May, 1477 1 . 

The last payment on this account was made 18 March, 147 8 , 
on which day he also received eight ducats for three frames" to 
contain the names of the books," and for some repairs to old 
. These frames were painted by one of l\Jelozzo da 
Forli's workmen 3 . In February, 1481, 12 book-chests were 
supplied 4 . 
The desks for the fourth room or Bióliotheca pOlltificia were 
ordered in 1480-81. The workmen employed were Giovannino 
and his brother Marco. 

Master Giovannino of Florence and Master Marco his brother, a 
carpenter, received xxv ducats in part payment for the desks which are 
being made in the library now added by His Holiness our :\Iaster, 
18 July, 14 80 ". 
These workmen received 100 ducats up to 7 April, 14 81 , 
but the account was not then settled. Up to this period the 
bookcases had cost the large sum of 580 ducats or, if the value 

1 Magister Joanninus faber lignarius de Florentia habuit a me Platyna s. d. n. 
blbliothecario pro fabrica banchorum Bihliothecæ secretæ, pro Armario magno el 
Spaleria ejusdem loci, quæ omnia exlÎmata Cuerunt centum et octuaginta ducat' a 
magistro Francisco de Mediolano; habuit, ut præfertur. ducatos sexaginta quinque et 
bononenos sexaginta die VII maii qjj. l\liintz, p. 130. There were 100 bononeni 
in each ducat. 
. Habuit ultimo ducatos octo pro trihus tabu lis ex nuce cornisate (?) ad continenda 
nomina Iibrorum e per Ie cornise de tre banchi \"echi ex nuce die supradicta; nil 
omnino restat habere ut ipse sua manu afflrmat, computatis in his illis LX bononenis 
qui superius scribuntur. 
liintz, p. 13 0 . 
3 Dedi Joanni pictori famulo m. !\Ielotii pro pictura trium tabularum ubi descripta 
suntlibrorum nomina carlenos XVIII die x Octobris qjj. Ibid., p. 13 1 . 
4 Item pro XII capsis latis in bibliothecam secretam. !\Iüntz et Fabre, p. 1;;8. 
. Magister Joanninus de Florentia et m. Marcus ejus Crater Caber lignarius habuere 
ducatos xxv pro parte solucionis banchorum quæ fiunt in bibliotheca addita nunc a 
sm.. d. nostro. die XVIII Julii q8o. l\hintz, p. 13... 



21 9 

of the ducat be taken at six shillings and sixpence, .l188 IOS. 
of our money. 
The purchase of chains began in January 1476 1 . It is worth 
notice that so simple an article as a chain for a book could not 
be bought in Rome, but had to be sent for from 1\Iilan; where, 
by the way, the dues exacted by the government made the 
purchase irksome and costly. The total number of chains 
bought was 1728, and the total cost 102 ducats, or rather more 
than .l33. The rings were found to be too small, and were 
altered in Rome. Nothing is said about the place from which 
the rods came (ferra1/lCllta quiblts catmæ ÙlIlit1tlltltr). 
In 1477 (14 April) "John the chain-maker (]oa1l1lesfabricator 
catmar1t1ll)" supplies "48 iron rods on which the books are 
strung on the seats'" and also 48 locks, evidently connected 
with the same number of rods supplied before. In the same 
year a key-maker (magister clavilt1/l) supplies 22 locks for the 
seats and cupboards in the Bibliotltcca secrcta S ; and in 1480, 
when the Bibliotltl'ca pOlltijicia was being fitted up, keys, locks, 
chains, and other ironwork were supplied by Bernardino, nephew 
of John of Milan 4 . 
For further information we must turn to the catalogues. 
For my present purpose the first of these ð is that by Platina, 
of which I have already spoken, dated 14 September, 1481. It 
is a small folio volume, written on vellum, with gilt edges, and 
in plain binding that may be original. The first page has a 
lovely border of an enlaced pattern with the arms of Sixtus IV. 
in a circle at the bottom. 
The compiler of the catalogue goes through the library 
case by case, noting (at least in the Latin Library) the position 
of the case, the subjects of the books contained in it, and their 
titles. This is succeeded by an enumeration of the number 
of volumes, so as to shew, in a couple of pages, how many the 

liintz. pp. U,,-I26. 
· Magi
ter Joannes fabricator catenarum habuit a me die XlIII arrili
ducatos decem, ad summam centum et quinque ducatorum quos ei debebam pro 
 miliaribus et lihris oCIingentis ferri fabrefacIi ad u,um bihliothecæ, videlicet 
pro quadraginta octo virgis ferreis ad quas in banchis libri connectuntur [etc.]. 
:'Iliintz, p. uS. 
3 Ibid., p. Uj. 4 Ibid., 1" 13;:" 
ð :\ISS, Vat. 39..7. 




whole Library contained. 1\1:\1. Müntz and Fabre print this 
enumeration, but, so far as I know, the catalogue itself has not 
as yet been printed by anyone. For my present purpose I 
shall combine the headings of the catalogue, the subjects, and 
the number of the volumes, as follows: 

Inventarium Bibliothecæ Palatinæ Divi Sexti Quarti Pont. Max. 


Ad sinistram ingredientibus 
In primo banco. [Bibles alld Commf1ltaries] 51 
In secundo banco. Hieronymus. AugustillUS 55 
In tertio banco. A ugllstimls. A mbrosÙls. Gregorius 47 
In quarto banco. Ioannes Chrysostomus . 50 
In quinto banco. TllOmas 4 7 
In sexto banco. In Theologia. in divino o/Jicio 54 
In septimo banco. Ius canonicum 43 
In octauo banco. Ius canonicum 4 1 
In nono banco. Ius ciz'ile 4 2 

43 0 

In primo banco ad dextram ingredientibus. Philosoplu' 53 
In secundo banco. Astrologz: In .AfedicÙza 4 8 
In tertio banco. Poe/æ 4 1 
In quarto banco. Ora/ores 43 
In quinto banco. Historici 33 
In sexto banco. Historici ecclesias/ici 4 8 
In septimo banco. Grallllllatici 47 

3 1 3 


In primu banco Bibliothecæ Grecæ. Tes/ameli/llm 
7'etus et nO'l'Ul11 . 4 2 
In secundo banco. Auctores clariores [.R,/hers] 3 1 
In tertio banco. Auctores clariores . 4 6 
In quarto banco. Auctores clariores . 49 
In quinto banco. Ius ci7'ile et canonicllm . 58 
In sexto banco. In Pllilosoplúa 59 
In septimo banco. Oratores et Rhetores . 57 
In octauo banco. Historici. Poetæ et Gramma/ici . 58 

4 00 



[A. B.\NCHI.] 
In primo banco Bibliothecæ Secretæ. [Bibles, Fathers, 
] 29 
In secundo banco. In Tkologia 37 
In tertio banco. In PhilosoPhia 4 1 
In quarto banco. Ius canom"cum 20 
In quinto banco. Concilia 34 
In sexto banco. In Astrologia. In Hebrazco. In 
Dalmatico. bl Arabico 29 

In primo armario Bibliothecæ Secretæ. Libri sacri et 
ill di1'Ìno officio 173 
In secundo armario. Ius tanOlliC1lm. Ius ciz'ile 14 8 
In tertio armario. Expositiolles. In sl'1ltentiis. Poetæ. 
Grammatici et Historici Greci 24 2 
In quarto armarlO. In medicina. Alathematici et 
Astrologi. Ius canonicum et cil'lle. Oratores et 
Rktores. Platonis Opera. In PhilosoPllia 186 
In quinto annario. A uclores clariores 18 9 

In prima capsa primi banchi Bibliothecæ Secretæ. In 
Theologia 1 0 7 
In secunda capsa pnnu ban chi. DÍ'l!ersa facultas 
[J:liscellilnea] 66 
In prima capsa secundi banchi. [PrÙ'Ìleges and Royal 
Letters in 3 volumes] . 3 
In secunda capsa secundi banchi. [AliscelI011ea] 12 4 
In prima capsa tertii banchi. Philosoph;. 9 0 
In secunda capsa tertii banchi . [00] 
In prima capsa quarti banchi. Historici. 65 
In secunda capsa quarti ban chi [00 ] 
In prima capsa quinti banchi. [Official forms] 43 
In secunda capsa quinti banchi. III Arabico . 23 
In prima capsa sexti banchi. In flistoria ecclesiastica. 
Ceremonialia 67 
In secunda capsa sexti banchi. Libri sine nomine ad 
fjuÍ11fjuaginta parvi et 11IOdici fjuidem valoris 50 

In prima capsa spaleræ Bibliothecæ Secretæ. In Poesi. 
Oratores Rhetores 
In secunda capsa. In dl7.'ino officio et ser11Wnes 
In tertia capsa. ConCtlia et Canon. De potestate 
ecclesiastica . 
In quarta et ultima capsa. In JIedicina. In Astrologia 


19 0 

93 8 

63 8 








[A. R.\NCHI.] 
In primo banco Bibliothecæ Pontificiæ. Testamelltu1ll 
1Jetus et novltlll 19 
In secundo banco. Expositores 22 
In tertio banco. Allgllstinlls 14 
In quarto banco. Hieronymlls, 23 
In quinto banco. In Theologia 22 
In sexto banco. In Theologia . 1 8 
In septimo banco. Tl1011Ias 23 
In octavo banco. In Plzilosoþma 29 
In nono banco. [Greek and Latill Classics] 25 
In decimo banco. Ius canollim1ll 28 
In undecimo banco. [Ci1'il Law] 17 
In duodecimo banco. [-<Vem Testa1ll-e1lt. .Fczthers] 19 


[R. SP\LERA.] 

Regestra Pontificum hic descripta in capsis Spaleræ 
Ribliothecæ Pontificiæ per Platinam Ribliothe- 
carium ex ordine recondita et in capsa prima. 21 
In secunda capsa Spaleræ Ribliothecæ Pontificiæ 47 
In tertia capsa Bibliothecæ Pont. Regestra recondita 
par Platynam Ribliothecarium 16 
In qu
rta capsa Spaleræ Bibliothecæ Pontificiæ Regestra 
recondita . 16 
In quinta capsa Spaleræ Bibliothecæ Pontificiæ Regestra 
recondita . IS 

These lists give the following results: 
left hand, 9 seats 
right" 7 " 

Bibliotheca Pontificia 

1 2 seats 
5 Capsæ (Regestra) 

43 0 
3 1 3 
4 00 
19 0 
93 8 
63 8 
19 82 

Latin Library, 
" " 
Greek Library 
Inner " 

8 " 
6 " 





Before proceeding farther, it should be noticed that, on a 
rough average, each seat in the Latin Library, left hand, 
contained 47 volumes, and in the same Library, right hand, 
43 volumes. In the Greek Library, each seat contained 50 
volumes; in the Inner Library, 31 volumes; in the Bibliotlzeca 
þ01/tijicia, 21 volumes. 
In the next p]ace I will give the results of the examination 
of a catalogue I of the Library, which :\1. Fabre, with much 
probability, assigns to the year 1512". It begins as follows 
with the Latin Library: 

Ad sinistra' Pontificis bibliothecam introeuntibus 
In primo scanno supra 
" " infra 
Finis primi scanni sub et supra 


The nine seats (ballclu) of the left side of the Latin Library 
are gone through in the same way as the first, with the result 
that each is shewn to have two shelves. The total number of 
books is 457, or 27 more than in 1481. 
On the opposite, or right-hand side of the Library, the first 
two seats have three shelves, and are described as follows: 

In primo scanno supra 
" "infra 
" eodem scanno inferius siue sub infra 
Finis primi scanni sub et subter 


On this side of the Latin Library the number of books has 
risen to 360 as against 313 of the previous catalogue. 
In the Greek Library there are similarly two shelves to each 
scat, and the total number of vo]umes is 407 as against 400. 
The account of the Inner Library begins as follows: 

In secretiori bibliotheca 
In iijo. scan no supra. 
infra . 
inferius siue sub infra 






Three of the seats have three shelves; the rest two; and 
the total number of vo]umes has become 222 as against 19Q: 
or, an average of 37 to each seat. 

I MSS. Vat. 7 1 3:" 

2 La Vatican
, etc., p. .H5 




The Bibliotkeca pOlltificia is introduced with the following 
In intima et ultima secretiori bibliotheca ubi libri sunt pretiosiores. 
Each seat has two shelves, and the total number of volumes 
is 277 as against 259 in 1481. Among the l\1SS. occurs 
"Virgilius antiquus litteris maiusculis "-no doubt the Vatican 
Virgil (Codex r011la1ll/s), a volume which fully justifies its place 
among those termed libri pretiosiores. 
This catalogue closes with the following sentence: 

Finis totius Bibliothece Pontificie: viz. omnium scamnorum tam 
Latinorum quam Grecorum in prima, secunda, tertia, et quarta eius 
distinctione et omnium omnino librorum: exceptis armariis et capsis : 
et iis libris, qui Græci ex maxima parte, in scabellis parieti adherentibus 
in intima ac penitissima Bibliothece parte sunt positi. Deo Laudes et 

The increase between 1481 and 1512 in the number of 
volumes in the parts of the Library defined in the above 
catalogue will be best understood from the following table, 
which shews that 131 volumes had been added in 31 years. 

14 8 1 15 12 
Latin Library 743 81 7 
Greek " 4 00 4 0 7 
Bibliotheca secreta 19 0 222 
" pontif1cia 259 277 
Total 159 2 17 2 3 

Another catalogue, unfortunately without dateI, but which 
has every appearance of belonging to the same period, notes 
the rooms as the Bibliotheca magna publica, i.e. the Latin and 
Greek Libraries taken together, the Bibliotkeca par'i.'a secreta, 
and the Bibliotkeca magna secreta. 
The catalogue drawn up by Zenobio Acciaioli, 12 October, 
15 18 2 , offers no pecuHarity except that in the Inner Library 
each seat is noted as having three rows of books, thus: 

In primo bancho bibliothece parve secrete 
Infra in secundo o:dine 
" tertio 


1 MS. Vat. 39.. 6 . 

2 MS. Vat. 39..8. 


.. ../" 
.. ", 'I If 
'. .. I I' 
. .... 
,. l 
.. .. 
. . 
"- , . 

, \ .. ,
'\ . 
. .. 
. , 

- - 

t,I' .... K 


.._ IIoo.c 
111\ ,

I ,- 

I! -. 





.... . 
1 . r 

.... '1. 











I I --- 
, - 





I B 
I .::: 
I 0 
I 0 
.S U' 
OJ ...... 
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(/) Eo 
(/) 0 
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\\"e may now proceed to arrange the Library in accordance 
with the information derived from the Accounts and the cata- 
logues, compared with the ground-plan (fig. 9
These authorities shew that in each of the rooms the books 
were arranged on what are called baJlcki, or as tht::y would have 
been termed in England, desks, or scats, to which the books 
were attached by chains. It is obvious, therefore, that there 
must have been also seats for readers. A piece of furniture 
fulfilling these conditions and constructed twenty-five years 
earlier, is still to be seen at Cesena, as I have just explained. 
Further, I have examined a good many manuscripts now in the 
Vatican Librdry which formed part of the older collection; and 
\\ herever the mark of the chain has not been obliterated by 
rebinding, it is in the precise position required for the above 
If I am -right in supposing that the cases at Cesena are a 
survival of what was once in general use, we should expect to 
find another eXdmple of them in the V dtican; and that such 
was the case, is proved by the eviùence of a fresco in the 
Ospedale di Santo Spirito at Rome, representing the interior of 
the library. This hospital was rebuilt by Sixtus IV. on an 
enlarged scale!, and after its completion in q82, one of the 
halls on the ground flour was decorated with a series of frescoes 
representing the improvements which he had carried out in 
the city of Rome. Recent researches. make it probable that 
the earlier pictures in the series of which the librdry is one, 
were selected by I'latina, and executed before his death in 14SI. 
I am able to present to my readers a reduced copy of this in- 
valuable record (fig. 99) executed for me by Signor Danesi, 
under the kind superintendence of Father Ehrle. 
The artistic merit of such a work as this is not great, but 
I fed sure that the artist faithfully reproduced what he saw 
with the limitdtions prescribed by his own want of skill. The 
desks bear a general resemblance to those at Cesena; they are 
pl.iÏner than the Accounts would warrant, but this may be due 

1 For an accounl of what Sixlu
 accoml'lbheù at Santo Spirito see Pastor, /listory 
of the Popu, Eng. Tran. IV. .60-..62. 

 Brockhaus, Jallitschek's R."/,"to, ÙIIII fii,. IÚl1Ist;,'iss"lS,hafltll, Daml \ II. (",,'.); 
ow, 111-/0::0 da Fori" (188(,), Pl" 102-207. 

C. L. 





to want of skill on the part of the artist. The chains have a]so 
been omitted either for the same reason or from a wish to avoid 
detail. It will be noticed that each desk is fully furnished with 
volumes laid out upon it, and that these vary in number and 
size, and have different bindings. It may be argued that the 
artist wished to compliment his patrons by making the most of 
their property; but I should be inclined to maintain that this 
was the normal condition of the Library, and that the books, 
handsomely bound and protected by numerous bosses of metal, 
usually lay upon the desks ready for use, 
If this fresco be compared with the earlier work of Mdozzo 
òa Forli, it is not difficult to identify four of the persons present 
in the Library (other than the readers). The central figure is 
obviously Sixtus IV., and the Cardinal to whom he is speaking 
is, I think, meant for Giuliano della Rovere, afterwards] ulius I I. 
The figure immediately behind the Pope may be intended for 
Pietro Riario, and the figure behind him is certainly Platina. 
The others, I take it, are simply attendants. 
Nor must it be forgotten that, important as this fresco is 
in connexion with the Library of the Vatican, it is of even 
greater interest as a contemporary representation of a ]arge 
fifteenth century library. 
The arrangement of each room is not quite so simple as 
might appear at first sight; and, besides the desks, there 
are other pieces of furniture to be accounted for. \Ve will 
therefore go through the rooms in order with the ground-plan 
(fig. 98). On this plan the cases are coloured gray, the readers' 
seats are indicated by transverse Jines, and the intervals are 
left white. 
Latill Library. The Accounts tell us that there were 
IO seats on the left hand of the Latin Library, and that these 
were longer than the rest, measuring 38 palms each, or about 
27 ft. 9 in. English I . 
As the distance from the central pier to the west wall is 
just 27 ft. 6 in., it is obvious that the cases must have stood 
north and south-an arrangement which is also convenient 
for readers, as the light would fall on th
m from the left hand. 
For this reason I have placed the first desk against the pier, 
I I have taken I pall11=l11èlre 0'223; and 1 l11èlre=39'3ï in. 




the reader's seat being westward of it. _\ difficulty now arises. 
It is stated in the Accounts that tell baJlchi are paid for, but 
all the catalogues mention only nine. I suggest that the ex- 
planation is to be found in the fact that ten pieces of furniture 
do occur between the pier and the wall, the first of which is a 
shelf and desk, and the last a seat only. This arrangement is 
to be seen at Cesena and in the l\1cdicean Library at Florence. 
The room being 34 f1. 8 in. wide, space is left for a passage along 
the south wall to the door (a) of the Librarian's room, and also 
for another along the opposite ends of the desks. 
For the arrangement of the rest of the Library, the Accounts 
give a most important piece of information. They tell us that 
the whole of the seats for the Common Library, i.e. the Latin 
and Greek Libraries taken together, 25 in number, cost 300 
ducats, of which sum the 10 long seats above mentioned ab- 
sorbed 130 ducats, leaving 170 to pay fur the remaining 15. 
From these data it is not difficult to calculate the cost of each 
palm, and from that the number of palms that 170 ducats would 
buy. I make this to be 5 IO palms, or about 373 feeU. 
It is, I think, obvious that there must have been some sort 
of vestibule just inside the door of entrance, where students 
could be received, and where they could consult the catalogue 
or the Librdrian. Further, the catalogues shew that the seven 
desks arranged in this part of the Library were in all probability 
shorter than those of the opposite side, for they contained fewer 
volumes. If we allow each of them 21 f1. 4 in. in length, we 
shall dispose of 149 ft., which leaves 224 ft. for the 8 desks of 
the Greek Library, or 28 ft. fur each, with one foot over. 
Græk Library. In this room there were eight seats, and, 
as eXplained above, each was about 28 ft. long. The room 
being 28 ft. wide, this number, with a width of 3 ft. for each, 
is very convenient, and leaves a passage 4 ft. wide along the 
west wall. The length, moreuver, does not interfere with the 

1 ;\Iy calculation works out as fo1\ows. Each or 10 seats was 38 palms long: 
total length, 380 palm
. As these 10 !>eats cost '30 ducats, each palm cost 
! '& ducah=! uf a ducat nearly. 
 tbe total paid wa
 300 ducab, this lir
t payment, viL. '30 ducats. left 170 
ducats still due for the 15 remaining seats. As each palm cost a third of a ducat, 
I 70 ducat
 would buy 510 palll1s
 11.\'73 mètres=H77 inchc:, (nearly) = 373 feet. 

Js --2 




passdge from door to door, and leaves a short interval between 
the ends of the desks and the opposite wall. 
flllll'r Librar)', In this room space has to be provided for 
(I) six seab, each holding on an average about 30 volumes; 
p) a press {armarium) with five divisions, and holding 938 
volumes; (3) a settle (spa/era); (4) 12 chests or coffers (cap.sæ). 
I have placed the armarium at the end of the room, opposite 
the window. In this position it can be allowed to be 20 ft. in 
width with 5 divisions, each, we will suppose, about 4 ft. wide. 
Let us suppose further that it was 7 ft. high, and had 6 shelves. 
If we allow 8 volumes to each foot, each shelf would hold 32 
volumes, and each division six times that number, or 192" 
This estimate for each division will give a total of 960 volumes 
for the five divisions, a number slightly in excess of that 
mentioncd in Platina's catalogue. 
After allowing a space 5 ft. wide in front of the press, there 
is plenty of room left for 6 desks, each 2 I ft. long. I have 
placed the sþaIIÙ'1'a, with its four coffers (capsæ) under the seat, 
below the window. This piece of furniture, in modern Italian 
spalliaa, Frenëh tþlwlière, is common in large hOllses at the 
present day. It usually stands in an ante-room or on a landing 
of one of the long staircases. A portion at least of the spa/licrc 
used in this Library are still in existence. They stood in the 
,"estibule of the present Vatican Library until a short time ago, 
when the present Pope had them removed to the App.lrtamento 
Borgia, where thcy stand against the wall round one of the 
rooms. There are two distinct designs of different heights and 
ornamentation. The photograph here n:produced (fig. 100) was 
taken specially for my use. The spalliae have evidently been 
a good deal altered in the process of fitting up, and moreover, 
as it is impossible to discover whether we have the whole or 
only a part of what once existed, it is useless to make any 
suggestion, from the length of the portions that remain, as to 
which room they may once have fitted. They are excellent 
specimens of inlaid work. That on the right, with the row of 
crosses along the cornice, is 6 ft. 2 in. high, and 66 ft. long. 
That on the left is 5 ft. 10 in. high, and 24 ft. 7 in. long, The 
t:apsæ project from the wall I ft. 4 in., and are 2 ft. high. Their 
lids vary a little in length, from 3 ft. I I in. to 4 ft. 10 in. 

- ---- -. 'b'o 
oro - ... 
J 0 
j -- -
 -- ro 
Il 0 

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-- - 5 
- ---- . c<I 

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, ... 
j Po 
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=- __- J d I 


 It' ... 
...:.. i .
-I --- 
L__ - -- - 
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But thc presence of a sja/liera is not thc only pcculiarity 
in thc furniturc of this room. Platina's cataloguc shc\\!' that, 
conncctcd in some manner \\ ith each seat, werc two coffers 
(mjsæ): and we have seen that 12 such chests \\ cre brought 
into thc Library in 14SI. I ha\"c placed these in pairs at the 
ends of thc desks opposite the scttle (sjal/Ù'ra). 
Innermilst Librt1lJ', or Eib/iilthem pOlltificia. This l.ibrary 
contained 12 desks. Thesc, from their number, must have 
stood east and \\ est. There was also a s/,al/icra, which held 
the Papal Regi-.;tcrs. I have placed it in the rece'iS on thc 
north side of the room. \\ hich looks as though made for it. 
I t should bc noled that there was a map of the world in the 
Library, for which a frame \\"as bought in 14781; and a couple 
of globes-the one celestial, the othcr terrestrial. Co\'ers made 
of sheepskin \vere bought for thcm in 1477". Globes with and 
\\ ithout such covers are shewn in the view of the Library of the 
Univcrsity of Lcyden taken in 1610 (fig. 69); and 1\I. Fabre 
reminds us that globes stiII li)rm part of the furniture of the 
I.ibrary of thc Palazzo Barberini in Rome, fitted up by Cardinal 
Francesco l3arbcrini, 1630-403. 
Comfort was considered hy the provision of a bra7ier on 
wheels "that it may be moved from place to place in the 
The following curious rule, eopied, as it would appear, in the 
Library itself, by Claudc Bellihre of Lyons, who vi-.;ited Rome 
about IS 13, shews that order was strictly enforced: 
Nonnulla quæ collegi in bihliotheca Yaticani. Edictum S. n" N. 
X,. quis in bibliothee.l cum altem contentiosc loquatur et obstrepat, 
ne\'e de l()('o ad loeum iturus scamna transeendat et pedibus ronterat, 

1 Per 10 tellaro del mappamondo h. 52. \Iiint7, p. 129" Jlahuere pictore< 
,umorum quæ sunt facta in duabu_ 'phæris ,olidi_ et pro pictura mappemnn,Ji dllcato" 
III, die ),,11 cIccembri_ I..ii. ì\riinIz et Fabre, 1'- 151. Thi_ map had prohably been 
1"0\ idc,l by Piu_ J I. (I-J;;S-qr...), \\ ho lcpt in hi, 
Cr\ ice Girolamo Cella\ i_ta, a 
Venetian maler of mal'" ì\r Üntz et J'abre, 126. 
· E'pcn'li pro cohopcrtUr:l facta duohu, <phæris solidis quarum in altem e<t ratio 
,ignomm. in ahem cosuwgraphia, ducat"s 1111 videlicet carteno, ),,\ I in oclo pellibu< 
m"ntunini<, c:Uleno< )" '\ \. in manifactur:l; sunt nunc ornata graphio cum armis s. d. n.. 
die ),,'1( llc, ,mhri, I-Jii. !\tünlz et I-ahrc, p. 152. 
1. Fa!>re quute, an eXlract in 
pmi'e of the mal' and gloI.L' fF'1Il a leller \\ rillen from Rume in 1505. fa 1(11;,,111, 
d Six/
 1 r. 1'_ ..i I Ilot . 
. f Ùi. · :\1 imlz, p. 13 0 . 

23 0 


[ CHAP. 

atque libros claudat et in locum percommode reponat. Ubique volet 
perlegerit. Secus qui faxit foras cum ignominia mittetur atque hujusce 
loci aditu deinceps arcebitur 1 . 
Before concluding, I must quote an interesting description 
of this Library by l\Iontaigne: 
Le 6 de Mars [I 58r] je fus voir la librerie du Vatican qui est en 
cinq ou six salles tout de suite. II y a un grand nombre de lines 
atachés sur plusieurs rangs de pupitres; il y en a aussi dans des coffres, 
qui me furcnt tous ouverts; force lines écris à mein et notamment 
un Sencque et les Opuscules de Plutarche. J'y vis de remercable la 
statue du bon .Aristide' à tout une bele teste chauve, la barbe espesse, 
grand front, Ie regard plein de douceur et de magcsté: son nom est 
escrit en sa base très antique..." 
J e la vis [la Bibliothèque] sans nulle difficulté; chacun la voit 
einsin et en extrait ce qu'il vcut; et est Ouverte quasi tous les matins, 
et si fus conduit partout, et com ié par un jantilhomme d'en user quand 
je voudrois'. 
Sixtlls IV. intended the library attached to the Holy See 
to be of the widest possible use. In the document appointing 
Demetrius of Lucca librarian, after Platina's death, he says dis- 
tinctly that the library has been got together" for the use of all 
men of letters, both of our own age, or of subsequent time 5 "; 
and that these are not rhetorical expressions, to round a phrase 
in a formal letter of appointment, is proved by the way in which 
manuscripts were lent out of the library, during the whole time 
that Platina was in office. The Register of Loans, beginning 
with his own appointment and ending in 1485. has been printed 
by I\Hintz and Fabre, from the original in the Vatican Library6, 
and a most interesting record it is. It is headed by a few words 
of warning, of which I give the general sense rather than a literal 
\\"hücver writes his name here in acknowledgmcnt of books re- 
ceived on loan out of the Pope's library, will incur his anger and his 
curse unless he rcturn them uninjured within a vcry brief period. 

1 Bib\. 
at. Paris, I\ISS. Lat. 13123, fo\. 220, quoted by I\Iiintz et Fabre, p. 1..0. 
, This statue. found in Rome in tbe middle of the sixteenth century, represents 
Aristides Smyrnæus, a Greek rhetorician of Ihe second century after Chri,t. It is 
still in the Vatican Library, at the entrance to the 
Iuseo Cristiano. 
3 In the omitted passage l\Iontaigne describes a number of hooks shewn to him. 
· /01111101 dll 'lJ())'ag
 ,Ü lIIichcl de 1I101ltaigne m .'talie, ed. Prof. Alessandro 
d' Ancona, 8vo. Citt:r di Castello, 189;;, p. 269- I owe this quotation to l\I. Fabre. 
5 l\Iiintz et Fahre, p. 299. 
6 Ibid., pp. 269-298. I\ISS. Vat. Lat. 396... 



23 1 

This statement is made by Platina, librarian to his Holiness, who 
entered upon his duties on the last day of February, 1475]. 
Each entry records the title of the book lent, with the name 
of thc borrower. This entry is sometimes made by the librarian, 
but more frequently by the borrower himself. \Vhen the book 
is returned, Platina or his assistant notes the fact, with the Jate. 
The following entry, taken almost at random, will serve as a 
Ego Gaspar de O/ino sapientissimi domini nostri cubicuJarius an no 
ICCCCLXXV die vero XXI Aprilis confiteor habuisse nomine 
mntui a domino 1'Iatina Lecturam sive com mentum in pergameno 
super libris x Etticorum Aristotc1is, et in fiùem omnium mea propria 
manu scripsi et supscripsi. Liber autem pavonatio copertus est in 
magno volumine.-Idem Gaspar manu propria.-Restituit fidditer 
librum ipsum ct repositus est inter philosoph os die x"- VIII April q 7 5. 
It is occasionally noted that a book is lent with its chain, as 
for instance: 
Christoforus prior S. Balbine habuit Agathium Historicum ex banco 
VIU o cum cathena...Restituit die xx Octobris post mortem Platyne. 
\Vhen no chain is mentioned are we to understand that the 
book was not so protected, and that there were in the library 
a number of books without chains, perhaps for the purpose 
of being more conveniently borrowed? 
A few words should be added on the staff of the library. 
At first-that is during the year 1475-Platina had under his 
orders three subordinates, Demetrius, Sahoatus, and John. These 
are called writers (scrip/ores) or keepers (ClIs/odcs); and Sakatus 
is once called librarian (librarills), but it will be shewn below 
that this ,,"ord means a .....riter rather than a librarian, as we 
understand the word. The position of these persons was ex- 
tremely humble; and Salvatus was so indigent that his shoes 
were menJed at the Pope's expense, and a decent suit of clothes 
provided for him at the cost of eight ducats 2 . Besides these 

I Qui'qui, es qui tuum nomen hic inscrihis ob acceptos commOtIo lihro
hihliotheca pontificis, scito te indignationem eju
 et execrationem incursufllm ni,i 
pcropportune integros reddideris. IInc tihi denuntiat I'latyna, S. suæ bihliothecariu-, 
qui tantæ rei curam su..cepit pridie Kal. l\Iartii q 75, 
2 Dedi die XIII Septemhris qi;\ ducatum unum Salvato scriptOli pro cmcndi, 
calligi,. Item expendi pro veste una Salvati scriptoris seminudi et algenti, ducatos 
\ III de man(lato sandi domini no
tri. ì\liintz et Fahre. p. qR. 

23 2 



there was a bookbinder, also called John. In the following 
year t\\'o keepers only are mentioned, Demetrius and Josias. 
The ]atter died of the pla
ue in 1478. The salary of the 
librarian was at the rate of ten ducats a month, and that of each 
of his subordinates at the rate of one ducat for the same period. 
This arran
ement appears to have been confirmed by a BulI of 
Sixtus IV. before the end of 14ïï'. 
These officers and Platina appear to ha\"e lived together in 
the rooms adjoinin
 the Latin Library, as shewn by the accounts 
for the purchase of beds, furniture, and the like"; and when 
Josias falIs ill of the plague, Platina sends away Demetrius 
and John the bookbinder, "for fear they should die or infect 
others 3 ." 
AII articles required for the due maintenance of the library 
were provided by Platina. The charges for binding and lettering 
are the most numerous. Skins were bought in the gross-on 
one occasion as many as 600-and then prepared for use. All 
other materials, as gold, colours, varnish, nails, horn, clasps, etc., 
were bou
ht in detail, when required; and probably used in 
some room adjoining the library. Platina also saw to the 
illumination (lIlilliatio) of such 1\1SS. as required it. 
Comfort and cleanliness were not for
otten, There are 
numerous charges for coals, with an amusing apolog") fi)r their 
use in winter" because the place was so cold"; and for juniper 
to fumigate (ad SlIffllllli,g-mllllllll). Brooms are bought to clean 
the library. and fox-tails to dust the books (ad togcl/{lm lihros 4 ), 
It should further be mentioned that Sixtus assigned an 
annual income to the library by a brief dated 15th July, '4ïï. 
It is thercin stipulated that the fees, paid accorùing to custom 

, I1ahui ego Plat}"na sanctissimi ,Iomini nostri hihliothecarius ducatos triginta pro 
salario meo. quod est decem ducatnrum in mense, ah idihus Julii usque ad idus 
Octobris qjj, quemadmodum apparet in bulla de facultatibus officiis et muneribus 
a sancti,simo domino nostm papa Sixl" IIII facta. INd. 1" ,
2 'Hintz, PI'. 129, 133. 
3 Item dedi ducatns <(uin'1ue pro <(unlibet Demetrio et Johanni hgatori librorum 
quos ex 111andato c10nlini nostri foras nlisiJ Inorhl0 ex peste eOnllll socio, ne ipsi 
quoque eo loci interirent vel alios inlÌcerent. die VIII junii I.fj1;. Münlz et Fabre, 
1" '53. 
· The entriLs alluckd to in this accuunt \\ ill all be found in 'fUnt7 and Fabre, 
PI" I.fS-,




by all officials appointed to any office vacated by resignation, 
should thcnceforward be transfcrred to thc account of the 
\Vhile Sixtus IV. was thus engaged in Rome, a ri\'al collector, 
Federig-o d,1 :\1 on tefel t ro, Duke of Urbino (1444-qX2), ....-as 
devoting such leisure as hc could snatch from warfare to similar 
pursuits. Thc room in which he stored his trca"urcs is practically 
llIMltered. It differs materi;lllr in arrangement from the othcr 
lihraries of the same pcriod. This differcnce is perhaps due to 
its position in a rcsidence which was half palacc, half castle. 
I t is on the ground floor of a huilding which separatcs the inner 
from the outer court. It measures 45 ft. in lcngth, by 20 ft. 
9 in. in width. The wall" are about 14 ft. high to the spring of 
the barrel-vault which covcrs the whole space. Therc arc two 
large windows at the north cnd of the room, and one at the 
south cnd. Thcse arc about ï f1. from thc ground. The original 
entrance was through a door into the inncr court, now blockcd. 
In the ccntrc of the \';lult is a large cagle in relief with F.D. on 
each side of its head; round it is a wrcath of cherubs' heads: 
and outside of all a bro.ul band of flames and rays. Thc vault 
is furthcr decorated with isolatcd flames, gilt, on a whitc ground 2. 
The books arc said to have occupicd cight presses, or scts of 
shclvès, sct against the cast and wcst walls, but our information 
on the suhjcct oÎ the fittings is provokingly mcagre. It i'i chicfly 
containcd in the following passage of a dcscription written by 
Ikrnardino Baldi, and datcd 10 Junc, 1587. H.ddi, as a nati\'e of 
U rbino, and in later lifc attached to thc scn-ice of the l>uke, 
must h,,\'e been \Veil acquainted with the rool11 and its contcnts, 

La stanm destinata a questi ]ihri è alia mano sinistra di ('hi entra 
nel 1',11.1110 contigu,1 al vestiho]o, 0 andito.. .le fcni'stre ha \'olle a 
Tramont,IIl.I, Ie quali per esser alte dal pa\ imento, cd in te
t,1 dd!.l 
st,\l1/.I, e \'0111' a parte di cielo chi' non ha sole, f,lIlno un certo ]um1' 
rimesso, il quaIl' pare eol non distra.'r ]a vi
ta con la sover..hia ahhon- 
rl.ln/a dell.1 ]uce, dll' im,iti cd inciti coloro ..he \"' entrano a studian:. 
I a slale è freschissima, l' invcrno IL'mperatamentl' ealda. 1 l' scanLÏe 
dc' librj sono ac'eost.lte aile mura, c disposk con molto hell' ordine. 
In questa fra gli altri lihri sono due Bihhil', una latina scritta a 
penn.1 e miniata per mana di eccellcntissimi ,lrtdici, e l' altr.1 Ehrea 

I fhe documenl i
 prinkd hy ?liinlz and Fabre, p. .1 00 . 

 1 vi,ile,1 LTrhillo fUI Ih" I'urpo,,, (If 'Iud}"inr: Ihi, lilnary '2R \p,il, ''Joo. 





antichissima scritta pure a mano...Questa si po sa sopra un gran leggi\'o 
d' ottone, e s' appoggia all' ale d' una grandc aquila pur d' ottnne che 
aprendolc la sostiene. Intorno aile eornici che circondano la libreria si 
leggono scritti ne! fregio questi versi I. 
In the preface to the catalogue of the library published at 
Rome in 1895, the author, after quoting the above passage, adds 
" There were eight presses each containing seven shelves'. The 
architectural decorations have alI disappeared, \\'ith the excep- 
tion of a fragment of a pediment at the south end of the room, 
on which F. E. DVX is stiII visible, The ]ectern is in the choir 
of the cathedral. 
The Biblioteca Laurenziana, or Medicean Library, at Florence, 
is the last Italian library which I intend to describe. 
After the death of Pope Leo X. in 152 I, his executor 
Cardinal Giulio dei Medici, afterwards Pope Clement VII.. 
restored to Florence the books which their ancestors had got 
together, and commissioned Michelangelo to build a room for 
their reception. The work was frequently interrupted, and it 
was not until I57! (I I June) that the library was formalIy 
The great architect, supported by the generosity of the 
Pope, constructed an apartment which for convenience and for 
appropriate decoration stands alone among libraries. It is 
, raised high abO\'c the ground in order to secure an ample 
supply of light and air, and is approached by a double stair- 
case of marble. It is 151 ft. 9 in. long, by 34 ft. 4 in. broad, 
and was originalIy lighted by 15 windows in each of the side- 
walls at a height of about 7 ft. G in. from the floor. There is a 
flat roof of wood, carved; and a pavement of terra-cotta con- 
sisting uf yellow designs on a red ground. 
\\'hen the room was first fitted up there were 44 desks on 
each side, but when the reading-room was built at the beginning 

1 ,I/ell/(".ie cOl1cerl1t:1lti la Citta di UJbÙl0. Fo\. Rome, 1;2.., p. 3i. See also 
Vespasiano, F,.dt-rigo Duea d' Urbino; aI" l\Iai, Spicilt:fiÙt1J1 RomaJl1ll1/, I. PI" 
12,,-128; Dennistoun, lI/<"1JlOirs of the Dukes of UrbÙu>, 8vo. IRSI, I. PI'. IS.
The duties of the Iihrarian, which reminò us in many particulars of those of the 
monastic arll/aYÏlts, are translated by Dennistoun (I" 1
9) from Vat. Urb. l\ISS. 
:;'I: o. 12..8, f. S8. 
, Codices Urbinait's Graeci Bibl. rat. Rome, 189
, p. 12, For this statement, 
the writer cites Raffaelh, Im/,a>'",iale istoria dell' twio11e d'll" Bib/iote(a dumle di 
Urbino alia Ii,tirana di Roma. Fennu, 18;i, 1'.12. 




of the last century, four were destroyed. This reading-room 
also blocks four windows. The glass was supplied by GiO\'anni 
da Cdine in 15ú7 and 1568. The subjects are heraldic. In 
each window the arms of the 
Iedici occupy a central position, 
and are surrounded by wreaths, arabesques. and othcr devices of 
infinite grace and variety, in the style \"hich the genius of 
Raphael had introduced into the Vatican. 

I "<II ' 
.- , ' 
-1:, I 
I I 


-, 1 ' 


. T "L 
" , 

I I 

I' r 
- I) 


11 .) 





The bookcases (fig. IOI) are of walnut-wood, a material 
which is said to have been prescribed by the Pope himself. 
They wcre executed, if we may believe Vasari', by Battist,l Jel 
I ra'ar;, eel. I R
(', vol. XII. p. 2 q. 



t ... -to 

- I 

I <J! ij ,'
I2.f;t ì ,I 
': ,:';t I lf'

... __ 


. " . r,
 "'1:;" s
 - - 
A ',ìï

;.. II-
,,' . 'i- l :;)\
 I I ,I 
'<:' ":j 

 1"'1 \ 

 I ! i I, I 
II 1,1 , 
\ . 




iii " 

. ' 

Fig. 101. Bookcases in the Medicean Library, Flor

23 6 



Cinque and Ciapino, but they are now known to have been 
designed by Michelangelo. A rough outline in one of his 

'\\= z (, 
'If' t 
r ì\ 

7" I 
, t J\ 


'"'\ 1 

Fig. 102. Copy, slightly reduced, of a sketch by Michelangelo for one of the 
bookcases in the Medicean Library. Florence. 

sketch-books, preserved in the Casa Buonarotti at Florence 
with other relics illustrating his life, and here reproduced 
(fig. 10
). unquestionably represents one (If these desks. The 
indication of a human figure on the seat proves the care 
which he took to ensure a height convenient for readers. 
These desks are on the same general plan as those at 
Cesena, but they are rather higher and more richly ornamented. 
Each is I I ft. 3 in. long, and 4 ft. 4 in. high. It must be 
admitted that the straight back to the reader's scat is not so 
comfort,lble as the gentle slope provided in the older example" 
A frame for thc catalogue hangs on the end of each deo.;k next 
the central alley. I n order to make clear the differences in the 
construction of the desks at Cesena and at Florence I append 
an c1e\"atioll of each (figs. 103, 104), 





Scale of Feel 
I " 
I ";' 



Fig. 103. Elevation of desks at Cesena. 

J [] 



 Ij 41 


: t 


Sca!C' of' Feet 

Fig. 104. Elevation of desks at Florence, 

23 8 



It will be seen from the view 
of one of the desks (fig. 10 I) that 
the books either lie on the sloping 
desk or are packed away on the 
I shelf under it. There is an average 
of 25 books on each desk. The 
chains, as at Cesena, are attached 
to the lower edge of the right board, 
at distances varying from 2 in. to 
4 in. from the back of the book 
(fig. 105). The staple is sunk into 
the wood. 
The chains are made of fine 
iron bars abuut one-eighth of an 
inch wide, but not quite so thick, 
flattened at the end of each link, 
and rounded in the centre, where a 
piece of the same iron is lapped 
round. but not soldered. Each 
chain (fig. 106) is 2 ft. 3 in. long. 
So far as I could judge all the 
chains in the library are of the 
same length. There is a ring at 
the end of the chain next to the 
bar, but no swivel. 
The ironwork by which these 
chains are attached to the desk 
is somewhat complicated. By the 
kindness of the librarian, Signor 
Guido Biagi, I have been allowed 
to study it at my leisure, and to 
draw a diagrammatic sketch (fig. 
107) which I hope will make it 
clear to my readers. The lock is 
sunk in the central support of the 
desk. The bar passes through a 
ring on each side of this support, 
and also through a ring near each 
end of the desk. These rings arc 

::-r:::. . ..:. 

 , ;, t 

Fig. 105. A book in the Medicean Li- 
brary, to shew attachment of chain. 


Fig. 106. Piece of chain in the 
Medicean Library, of the 
actual size. 

\ I] 



fixcd to the Iowcr edge of the desk just under the molding. A 


1& h 



 ç . " 

.,:.:: :" / 
"'" ....

:-...... ','" 

, , . ' '\ I 

!I!::I '" 
, ì\. ,
, It l\ì!!1 



Fig. '0'/. Diagram to explain the ironwork at the Medicean Library. 

flat piece of iron is forgcd on to the bar near the centre. This 
iron is pierced ncar the key-holc with an oblong slit through 
which passes a mO\eablc picce 
of iron, here shewn in outline 
of its actual size (fig. 108). 
The bult of the lock passcs 
through a hole in this piece, 
and holds the bar firmly in 
its place. 
Thc bar IS not quite so 

: O '

/o.." .' 
"'''. ". .... 

, . 

Fig. J08. Outline of bolt forming pan 
of ironwork. 

24 0 



long as the desk; consequently, when it has been unlocked, 
and the iron bolt sketched above withdrawn, it can be turned 
round by taking hold of the central iron, and pushed to the 
right or to the left, past the terminal rings" The chains can 
then be readily unstrung, or another strung upon the bar. 
In the next chapter I shaIl describe the changes in Library 
arrangements adopted during the period which succeeded the 
l\Iiddle .-\ges; but, before ending this present chapter, there are 
a few points affecting the older librarie
 and their organization 
to which I should like to draw attention. 
I n the first place all medieval libraries were practicaIly 
public. I do not medn that strangers were let in, but even in 
those of the monasteries, books were let out on the deposit of 
a sufficient caution; and in Houses such as S. Victor and 
S. Germain des I'rès, P driS, and at the Cathedral of Rouen, the 
collections were open to readers on certain days in the week. 
The Papal library and those at e rbino and Florence were also 
public; anù even at Uxforù and Cambridge there was practi- 
caIly no objection to lending books on good security. Secular 
corporations foIluwed the example set by the Church, and lent 
their manuscripts, but only on security. A very remarkable 
example of this practice is afforded by the transaction between 
the Écule de l\Iédecine, Paris, and Louis X I. The king wanted 
their copy of a certain work on meùicine; they ùeclined to lend 
it unless he ùeposited 12 marks worth of plate and 100 gold 
crowns. This he agreed to do; the book was borrowed; duly 
copied, anù 24 J <lnuary, 1..1-72, restored to the l\ledical Faculty, 
who in their turn sent back the deposit to the king 1. 
As a general rule, these libraries were divided into the 
lenùing library anù the library of reference. These two parts 
of the coIlection ha\"e different names given to them. In the 
Vatican Library of Sixtus IV. we find the common library 

"bliothcCll COllllllllllis) or public library (E. publica), and the 
reserved library (E. secreta). The same terms were used at 
Assisi. At Santa l\Iaria !\O\"ella, Florence, there was the library, 
and the ]esser library (E. lIlillor). In the University Library, 
Cambridge, there was" the public 'library" which contained the 
more ordinary books and was open to everybody, and "the 
1 Fran\"lin, Allc. Bib!. & l'aris, II. 22. 

\ I] 

ST.-\I:\ED GL-\SS 

?4 I 

private library" where the more valuable books were kept and 
to which only a few pri..-ileged persons were admitted). At 
Queens' College, in the same uni\'ersity, the books which might 
be lent (libri dis/ribl/Cl/di) were kept in a separate room from 
those which were chained to the shelves (libri cOllca/eua/i), and 
at King's College there was a public library (E. maglla) and a 
lesser library (E. minor). In short, in every large collection 
some such di,-ision was made, either structural, or by means of a 
separate catalogue 2 . 
I have shewn that t\\n systems of bookcases, which I have 
called lectern-system and stall-system, were used in these 
libraries; but, as both these have been copiously illustrated, I 
need say no more on that part of the subject. Elaborate 
catalogues, of which I have gi,-en a few specimens, enabled 
readers to find what they wanted in the shortest possible time, 
and globes, maps, and astronomical instruments provided them . 
with further assistance in their studies. l\Ioreover in some places 
the library served the purpose of a museum, and curiosities of 
various kinds were stored up in it. 
No picture of a medieval library can be complete unless it 
be remembered that in many cases beauty was no less an object 
than utility. The bookcases were fine specimens of carpentry- 
work, carved and decorated; the pavement was of encaustic 
tiles worked in patterns; the waIls \\ ere decurated with plaster- 
\\ ork in relief; the \\ indows were filled with stained glass; and 
the roof-timbers were ornamented with the coat-armour of 
Of these embellishments the most distincti\.e was the glass. 
At St Albans the twelve windows contained figures ilIustrating 
the subjects of the books placed near them, For instance, the 
second window represented Rhetoric and Poetry; and the figures 
selected were those of Cicero, SalIust, 
Iusaeus, Orpheus. Ap- 
propriate verses were inscribed beneath each_ The whole scheme 
recalls the library of Isidore, Bishop of Seville, \\hich I have 

) This statement resIs on the anthoriIy of Dr Caius. Hisl. Calli. Am.!. p. 89- 
Cum duæ bibliolhecæ eranl, ahera priuata seu noua, ahera publica seu vetns 
dicebatur. In ilia oplimi quique õ in hac "llJn;, gener;, c' peiori numcro ponebanlur. 
IlIa paucb, ista omnibus palehat_ 
2 Arch. Hi_,t. III. p. 401. 



24 2 



already described 1. In the library of Jesus College, Cambridge, 
each light contains a cock standing on a globe, the emblem of 
Bishop Alcock the founder, with a label in his beak bearing a 
suitable text, and under his feet an inscription containing half 
the designation required. For instance, the first two bookcases 
contained works on Physic, and in the window is the word 
PHI-SICA divided between the two lights 2. In Election Hall 
at Eton College-a room originally intended for a library-we 
find the Classes of Civil Law, Criminal and Canon Law, 
Medicine, etc., illustrated by medallions shewing a church 
council, an execution, a physician and his patient, and the 
like 3 . At the Sorbonne, Paris, the 38 windows of the library 
were filled with the portraits of those who had conferred special 
benefits on the college 4 ; at Froidmont" near Beauvais the 
authors of the Voyage Littéraire remark the beautiful stained 
glass in the library: and in Bishop Cobham's library at Oxford, 
according to Hearne, there" was brave painted glass containing 
the arms of the benefactors, which painted glass continued till 
the times of the late rebellion 6 ." 
Lastly, I will collect the different terms used to designate 
medieval bookcases. They are-arranged alphabetically-mzalo- 
giulll, ballc1Is or ballca, dcscus, gradus, stal/1I1/l, stal/a, stallus or 
staullt1ll, and sedile. I have sometimes thought that it would be 
possible to determine the form of the bookcase from the word 
used to describe it; but increased study has convinced me that 
this is impossible, and that the words were used quite loosely. 
For instance, ballC/ts designates the cases in the Vatican Library 
which represent a variety of the lectern-system; and its French 
equivalent banc the cases at Clairvaux which were stalls with 
four shelves apiece. Again" desk" (desclts) is used inter- 
changeably with "stall" (stallu1/l) in a catalogue of the University 
Library, Cambridge, dated 1473, to designate what I strongly 
suspect were lecterns; in 1693 by Bishop Hacket when de- 

1 See above p. 45. Dr James has printed the verses from Bud!. l\ISS. Laud. 697, 
fo\. 27, verso, in Camb. Allt. Soc. Proc. alld C0l11111. VIII. 21 3' 
2 The whole series is given in Arch. Hist. III. p. 4 61 . 
3 I quote this account of the glass at Eton from Dr James, ut supra, p. 21 4' 
4 De Lisle, Cabillet de 1I1<lllllScrits, vo\. II. p. 200. 
ð Voyage Litt,lraire, ed. 1717, II. 158. 
6 Bliss, Rdi'luÙe Hearlliamc, 11.693; ap. l\Iacray, Allllals, p. 4' 




scribing the stalls which Dean \\ïlliams gave to the library at 
\Vestminster Abbey): and in 1695 by Sir C. \Yren to describe 
bookcases which were partly set against the walls, partly at 
right-angles to them. 
I t has been already shewn that gradus means a shelf, or a 
lectern. or a side of a lectern II; and sedile is obdously only the 
Latin equi\'alent for .. seat," which was sometimes used, as at 
S. John's College, Cambridge, in 16233, to designate a bookcase. 
It was also used at Christ Church, Canterbury, for what I have 
shewn to be a stall with four shelves
. The word mwlogiu1Il 
was used in France to signify a lectern
. The word "class" 
(dassis) is used at the University Library, Cambridge, in 15 8 4, 
instead of the ancient "stall," and afterwards superseded it 
entirely. For instance, when a Syndicate was appointed in 
17 1 3 to provide accommodation for Bishop l\Ioore's Library, 
the bookcases are described as Thccæ si'i.'c quas 'l!ocmtl classes. 
Gradually the term was extended until it reached its modern 
signification, namely, the shelves under a gi\'en window together 
with those on the sides of the bookcases to the right and left of 
the spectator facing it s . 
\\'e sometimes meet with the word distÙtctio. For instance, 
an Apocalypse in the library of Corpus Christi College, Cam- 
bridge, which once belonged to St .-\ugustine's College, Canter- 
bury. is noted as having stood "distillctiolle prima gradlt tcrtio"; 
and the same word is used in the introduction to the catalogue 
of Do\'er Priory to signify what I am compelled to decide was 
a bookcase. The word dC1llollstratio, on the other hand, which 
occurs at the head of the catalogue of the library of Christ 
Church, Canterbury, made between 1285 and 1331, probably 
denotes a division of subject, and not a piece of furniture. 
Until the lectern-system had gone out of fashion, a word to 
denote a shelf was not needed. \Vhen shelves had to be referred 
to, tcxtus 7 was used at Canterbury, and lillea 8 at Citeaux. On 

I See above, p. 188. 
II Arch. Hist. Vol. II. p. 2;0. 

 See Index. 
· Arch. Hisl. Vo\. III. p. 30. Conyers ;\Iiddleton, Bibl. Cartl. Ord. "It/h. 
\\ orks, Vol. III. p. 484' 
7 St.c above, p. I


II See Index. 
4 See above, p. 192. 

8 See above, p. 10;;. 




[CHAP. n 

the other hand, at Saint Ouen at Rouen, this word indicates a 
row of bookcases, probably lecterns. In a record of loans 1 from 
that library in 1372 and following years, the books borrowcd are 
set down as follows (to quote a few typical instances): 
Item, digestum novum, linea I, E, II. 
Item, 1iber de rcgulis fidei, cum aliis, linea III, L, VIII. 
Itcm, Tulius de officiis, linea II a parte sinistra, D, II. 
These extracts will be sufficient to shew that the cases were 
arranged in three double rows, each double row being called a 
linea. Each lectern was marked with a letter of the alphabet, 
and each book with the number of the row, the letter of the 
lectern to which it belonged, and its number on the lectern. 
Thus, to take the first of the above entries, the Digest was to be 
found in the first row, on lectern E, and was the second volume 
on the said lectern. It is evident that there was a row of lccterns 
on each side of a central alley or passage, and that a book was 
to be found on the right hand, unless the left hand was specially 
A catalogue has been preserved of the books in the castle 
of Peñiscola on the east coast of Spain, when the anti-pope 
Benedict XIII. retired there in 1415. They were kept in presses 
(armaria), each of which was subdivided into a certain number 
of compartments (dOlll1/11Culc), each of which again contained 
two shelves (ordÙlcs)2. I suggest that this piece of furniture 
resembled, on a large scale, Le Chartrier de Bayeux, which I 
have already figured (fig. 26). 
In conclusion, I will quote a passage in which the word 
library designates a bookcase. It occurs in an inventory of 
the goods in the church of S. Christopher Ie Stocks, London, 
made in 1488: 
On the south side of the vestrarie standeth a grete lihrary with ij 
Ionge 1cctumaUes theron to ley on the bokes'. 
I need hardly remind my readers that the French word 
bibliothèqllC has the same double meaning. 
1 Du pdt des livres dalls l'abbaJ'e de Saillt OUCIZ, SOilS Charles V. par L. Delisle. 
Bib!. de I'École des Cllartes, ser. III. Yol. I. p. 225. 18+9' 
2 Le Liblairie des Fapes d'A , VigllOlI par l\laurice Faucon, Tome II. p. +3, in 
Bibl. tit's Écoles Frallfaises d'Athèues et tit' Rome, Fasc. 50. 
. Archæologia, Vol. 4Î, p. 120. I have to thank my friend l\Ir r. T. 
architect, for this quotation. 




HAVE now traced the evolution of the bookcase 
from a clumsy contri\-ance consisting of two 
boards set at an angle to each other, to the 
stately pieces of furniture which, with but little 
alteration, are still in use; and I hope that I 
have succeeded in shewing that the fifteenth 
century was emphatically the library-era throughout Europe. 
l\Ionasteries, cathedrals, universities, and secular institutions in 
general vied \\ ith each other in erecting libraries, in stocking 
them with books, and in framing liberal regulations for making 
them useful to the public. 
To this development of study in all directions the sixteenth 
century offers a sad and startling contrast. In France the 
Huguenot movement took the form of a bitter hostility to the 
clergy-which, after the fa'ìhion of that day, exhibited itself in 
a very general destruction of churches, monasteries, and their 
contents; while England witnessed the suppression of the 
l\Ionastic Orders, and the annihilation, so far as was practicable, 
of all that belonged to them. I have shewn that monastic 
libraries were the public libraries of the :\Iiddlc .-\ges; more 

24 6 



than this, the larger houses were centres of culture and educa- 
tion, maintaining schools for children, and sending older 
students to the Universities. I n three years, between 1536 and 
1539, the whole system was swept away, as thoroughly as 
though it had never existed. The buildings wcrc pulled down, 
and the materials sold; the plate was melted; and the books 
were either burnt, or put to the vilest uses to which waste 
literature can be subjected. I will state the case in another 
way which will bring out more clearly the result of this 
catastrophe. L'pwards of eight hundrcd monasteries were sup- 
pressed, and, as a consequence, eight hundred libraries were 
done away with, varying in size and importance from Christ 
Church, Canterbury, with its 2000 volumes, to small houses with 
little more than the necessary service-books. By the year 1540 
the only libraries left in England were those at the two U ni- 
versities, and in the Cathedrals of the old foundation. Further, 
the royal commissioners madc no attempt to save any of the 
books with which the monasteries were filled. In France in 
1789 the revolutionary leaders sent the libraries of the convents 
they pillaged to the nearest town: for instance, that of Citeaux 
to Dijon; of Clairvaux to Troyes; of Corbie to Amiens. But 
in England at the supprcssion no such precautions were taken; 
manuscripts seem to have been at a discount just then, for 
which the invention of printing may be to some extent re- 
sponsible; their mercantile value was small; private collectors 
were few. So the monastic libraries perished, save a few 
hundred manuscripts which have survi\.cd to give us an im- 
perfect notion of what the rest were like. 
How great the loss was, has probably been recorded by 
more than one writer; but for the moment I can think of 
nothing more graphic than the words of that bitter protestant 
John Bale, a contemporary who had seen the old libraries, and 
kncw their value. After lamenting that "in turnynge ouer of 
ye superstycyouse monasteryes so lytle respect was had to theyI' 
lybraryes for the sauegarde of those noble and precyouse monu- 
mentes" (the works of ancient writers), he states what ought to 
have been done, and what really happened. 
Neuer had we bene offcnded for the losse of our lybraryes beynge 
so many in nombre and in so desolate places for the most parte, yf the 




chiefe monumentes and moste notable workes of our excellent wryters 
had bene reserued. 
If there had bene in every shyre but one solempne lybrary, to the 
preseruacyon of those noble workes, it had bene yet sumwhat. But to 
destroy all \\ ithout consyd) racyon is and wyll be vnto Englande for 
euer a moste horryble infamy amonge the graue senyours of other 
nacyons. A greatc nombre of them whych purchased those super- 
stycyouse mansyons, reserued of those bokes some to...scoure theyr 
candelstyckes, and some to rubbe the}r bootes. Some they sold to the 
grossers and sopesellers, and some they sent ouer see to the bake 
bynders, not in small nombre, but at times whole shyppes full, to the 
wonderynge of the foren nacyons. I know a merchaunt man which 
shall at this tyme be namelesse, that boughte the contentes of two 
noble lybraryes for .xl. shyllynges pryce, a shame it is to be spoken. 
This stuffe hath he occupyed in the stede of graye paper by the space 
of more than these .x. yeares, and yet he hath stOre ynough for many 
yeares to come I. 

The Cniversities, though untouched by the suppression, 
were not allowed to remain long at peace. In 1549, com- 
missioners were sent by Edward the Sixth to Oxford and 
Cambridge. They considered that it fcll within their province 
to reform the libraries as well as those who used them; and 
they did thcir work with a thoroughness that under other 
circumstances would have bcen worthy of commendation. 
Anthony \Vood 2 has told us in eloquent periods, where sorrow 
struggles with indignation, how the college libraries Were 
treated; how manuscripts which had nothing superstitious 
about them except a fcw rubricated initials, were carried through 
the city on biers to the market-place and there consumed. Of 
the treatment meted out to the public library of the University 
he gives an almost identical accounU, This library-now the 
central portion of the Bodleian-had bcC'n completed about 
14 80 . It was well stocked with manuscripts of value, the most 
important of which, in number about 600 4 , had been given by 
Humphrey Duke of Gloucester, betwcen 1439 and 144 6 . His 

I The labor)'ollse /om n }' alld Serehe of /ohall Lt)'lalld<' for Ellglandes A ntÙI"ilt
hy Juhan Bale. London, I 54'J. 
· IIlStor)' alld AntiquIties of Uniz'ersit)' of Oxford, Ed. Glitch, 410. I i96, \'01. II. 
p. 106. Wood (h. 11\3'1, d. 1695) give<; the
e facts as" crcdihly reported fruffi antient 
men and they while young from 
cholars of great 
S Ibid. \' ul. 11. Pt. '1, 1" ()IS. 
· rhis numhcr i, givcn .m the authorit), of \Iacra)". Allnals of tI,t' Rodlel.lIl Libral J', 
bl. II. p. 6. 




collection was that of a cultivated layman, and was compara- 
tively poor in theological literature. Yet in this home of 
all that was noble in literature and splendid in art (for the 
Duke's copies are said to have been the finest that could be 
bought) did this crew of ignorant fanatics cry havoc, with 
such fatal success that unly three l\ISS. now survive; and on 
January 25, 1555-56, certain members of the Senate were 
appointed" to sell, in the name of the University, the book- 
desks in the public library. The books had all disappeared; 
what need then to retain the shelves and stalls, when no one 
thought of replacing their contents, and when the University 
could turn an honest penny by their sale 1 ?" 
I suppose that in those collegiate and cathedral libraries of 
which some fragments had been suffered to remain, the gaps 
caused by the destruction of manuscripts were slowly filled up 
by printed literature. No new bookcases would be required for 
many years; and in fact, nearly a century passed away before 
any novelty in the way of library-fittings makes its appearance. 
Further, when new libraries came to be built, the provision of 
suitable furniture was not easy. The old stall, with two shelves 
loaded with books attached to them by chains, and a desk and 
seat for the use of the reader, was manifestly no longer adequate, 
when books could be produced by the rapidity of a printing- 
press, instead of by the slowness of a writer's hand. And yet, 
as we shall see, ancient fashions lingered. 
So far as I know, the first library built and furnished under 
these new conditions in England was that of S. John's College, 
Cambridge. This" curious example of J acobean Gothic
" was 
built between 1623 and 1628, at the sole charge of Bishop 
\Villiams, whose work at \Vestminster during the same period 
has been already recorded. The site selected was the ground 
between the second court of the college and the river, the 
library-building being constructed as a continuation of the 
north side of that court, with the library on the first floor, 
and the chambers intended for the Bishop's Fellows and 
Scholars on the ground floor. 
The room, after the fashion of the older libraries, is long and 

1 Macray, lItSlIj>ra, p. 13. 
" The-e \\orch were u'ed hy Professor \\ïllis, Anh. HÙI. \'01. III. p. 4;;1. 




narrow, 110ft. in length by 30 ft. in breadth. Each sidc-wall is 
picrced with ten lofty pointed windows of two lights with tracery 
in the head. The sills of these windows are raised 4 ft. abO\'e the 
floor, and the inten'al between each pair of windows is 3 ft. 8 in. 
There is also a western oriel, the foundations of which are laid 

t < 


. t " i,l! ,-, .1 

, .I!J
 <<- <- 
 n : 

': ir,ill::
 - , 
· - 100 n 
- -- 
, ... I .' 
ff t I :.. -
"-- I '
-( 1-; 
 _....... _ -' .
--.,.. -# --X
. __ 

 1 .. 
 .,:1 ;., 



.. ( 


'$ --:r- 



.. ..: 0---'1' 

- :'!!..-
, - 




, L... 
-. , 


Fig. log. W
st ori
1 of th
 Library at S. JOhn's ColI
, Cambridg

in thc river \\ hich washes its waIls (fig. 109). The name of the 
founder is commemorated 011 the central gable by the letters 
I. L. C. S" the initials of Joltll1l1les Lillcolllimsis Custos Sigilli, 
the Bishop Leing at that time keeper of the Great Seal, or, as we 
should say, Lord Chancellor. The date lú24 marks the com- 
pletion of the shell of the building l . 

I For the hi'lm}" or thi, building ",e l',,"r \Yillis, lit slIþw. \"01. II. 




The beautiful fittings (fig. 110), which are still In use, were 
completed before 1628. Medieval arrangement was not wholly 
discarded, but various modern features were introduced. The 
side-walls and window-jambs are panelled to a height of 8 ft. ; 
and the cornice of this panel-work is continuous with that of 
the taller cases-which, as in the older examples, stand at right 

C l 


, 1 



Fig. 110. Bookcases in the Library of S. John's College, Cambridge. 

angles to the walls between each pair of windows. Before these 
fittings were constructed, chaining had been practically aban- 
doned, so that it was not necessary to provide either desk or seat. 
In the place, therefore, of the reader's seat, a low bookcase 
was set in front of each window. These cases were originally 
5 ft. 6 in. high, with a sloping desk on the top on which books 

\ II] 


25 1 

could be laid for study. Stools also were provided for the 
convenience of readers. The larger cases or, as the Luilding- 
account of the library calls them, " the greater seats," have been 
a good deal altered in order to accommodate more books. 
Originally the plinth ran round the siùes of the case; as did 
also the broad member which is seen on the end above the 
arches. By this arrangement there were in all only four shelves, 
namely, one below the broad member and three above it. 
Further, there was a pilaster in the middle, below the central 
bracket. It should be noted that the medieval habit of placing 
a list of the books contained in each case at the end of the case 
is here maintained. 
It might have been expected that these splendid cases 
would have invited imitation, and in those at Clare College the 
general style was undoubtedly copied. But, as I have already 
explained 1, those cases were originally genuine specimens of the 
stall-system, with desks. In other libraries, while a new style 
of bookcase was put up, we shall find no innO\'ation comparable 
to that seen at S. John's. This was due, in great measure, to 
the medieval character of the rooms to be fitted up. 
The library at Peterhouse was lengthened in 1633. It is 
ï5 f1. long by 25 ft. broad, and each of its side-walls is pierced 
by a range of three-light windows. The cases (fig. I II) were 
put up between 16..p and I6-t-8. Like those at S. John's, they 
stand at right angles to the walls between the windows, but they 
are detached. and not continuous with the panel work. Originally 
they were just eight feet high, but have since been heightened 
to accommodate more books. Each case is still divided by a 
central pilaster. So far they do not present any striking 
peculiarity, but I wish to draw attention to a curious con- 
trivance, which we shall find subsequently reproduced in various 
forms, though not exactly as it is seen here; for these cases 
\\ere evidently admired, and imitated in se\-eral other colleges. 
The chains had been taken off the books at Peterhouse in 
1593-94, when they were first moved into the new library; 
so that desks attached to the cases were not required. N' or 
were lowcr ca-;es, with desks at the top of them, provided. But 
the cOIl\'enience of the reader was consid
red, up to a certain 
's"" ahove 1'. I M6. 




point, by the provision of a seat, 12 in. wide and 23 in. high, 
extending along the side of each case, and returned along 
the wall between it and the case next to it. This arrangement 
may still be seen in the two compartments at the west end of 
the room, one on each side of the door of entrance. The ends 
of the seat or 'podium,' are concealed by boldly carved ,,"ings l . 



 --. . 
. -
. ...ii'lU ij '( . -::...: : =" - 
-"r T J',WhlU I 
" IJ tt !
LH . ' . J ' ,- 

 ' JIlt 
r u r

I f 1--: ., 


- I 
, "'''11....._ J. ' 
___' I_....n
------ - - 



I. __ I 


Fig. III. Bookcases in the Library of Peterhouse, Cambridge. 

The convenience of this type of case was e,'identJy recog- 
nised at once, for we find it copied, more or less exactly, in the 
south room of the Uni,"ersity Library (1649); at Jesus College 
(1663); at Gonville and Caius College (1675); at Emmanuel 
College (1677); and at Pembroke College (1690). 
The south room of the C niversity Library, on the first floor, 
is 25ft. wide and was originally 67 ft. long. I t was lighted 
by eight windows in the north wall, and by nine windows in the 
south wall, each of t\\'o lights. There was also a window of four 
lights in the east gable, as we learn from Log-gan's print, and 
probably a window in the west gable als0 2 . It was entered by a 
1 Auh. His!. ut supra, \"o\. I. p. 33. and \'01. III. p. +
2 When the new façade "as huilt in the middle of the 18th century this room was 
shortened by about 8 feet, so that now ther" arc only 8 \\ indo\\ s on the south side anù 
 on th" north ,ide. 







f f" 
I I 


 !.. ..I
1111111111I I rm 
n 'i II 1111, : (! \\ 
-", I 
ìl\l, t II II 
! --- 



. I 


Fig. II2. Bookcases in the south room of the University Library, Cambridge. 


IrQ! I 



\ II] 



door, in the north-east corner, approached by a "vice," or turret- 
-;tair. This door was fortunately left intact when the east 
building \\as erected in 1755. The room has been but little 
altered, and still presen'es the beautiful roof. the contract for 
which is dated 25 June, 14 661 . 
\\'e do not kno\\' anything about the primitive fittings, but, 
having regard to the fact that the spaces between the windows 
are barely two feet wide, it is probable that they were lecterns. 
l\IoreO\'er, a catalogue, dated '473, enumerates cight stalls on 
the north side each containing on an a,oerage 2 I books, and 
nine on the south side, each containing 18 books 2 . These 
numbers, compared "ith those mentioned above at Zutphen, 
indicate ]ecternso 
I n the next century this room \\ as assigned to teaching 
purposes, and the lecterns were cither removed or destroyed. 
In 1 6 45 the University petitioned Parliament to put them in 
possession of .-\rchbishop Bancroft's library, \\-hich he, by will 
dated 28 October, 1610, had bequeathed to the Public Library 
of the U ni,oersity of Camhridge, should certain other prO\oisions 
not be fulfilled. The request was granted, IS February, 1 6 47, 
and thc books arrived in 1649. The room in question, then 
used as the Greek School, was ordered, 3 September, 16 49, to be 
"fitted for the disposeall of the said books" without delay. The 
existing cases were supplied at once, for Fuller. writing in the 
following ycar, speaks of them with commendation l . Their 
exact date is therefore known. 
These cases (fig. 112) are 8 ft. high from the floor to the 
top of the horizontal part of the cornice, and 22 in. broad. 
They have the central pilaster; but the seat has been cut down 
to a step, which is intcrrupted in the middle, so as to allow the 
central pilaster to rise directly from the ground. The wing, 
ho\\'e,'er, was too picturesque a fcature to be discarded, so it 
was placed at the cnd of the step, and carried up, by means 
1 The contract is printed and explained in A,,-h. /lisl. Yo\. III. Pl" 1)2-6. 

 ClIlI/b. A"lo Soc. Proc. \'01. II. p. 258. The calalogue is printed, with remark-, 
hy II. Bradshaw, M..\., Univer
ity Librarian. It 
hould be noled that on the south 
,ide of the room, the fir>t ca>e only is called' stall,' the remaining eight are called 
. desl._.' 
3 /lisloryof UlliverSily of ClI11II>rÙ
, ed. and Wright, p. Ilioo S<:" also 
.-l1Ch, l/i>l. \'01. III. p. 




of a long slender prolongation, as far as the molding which 
separates the two panels on the end of the stall. 
These cases were exactly copied at Gonville and Caius 
College; and again at Emmanuel College; but in both those 
examples the step is continuous. At Jesus College the same 
type is maintained, with the central pilaster and continuous 
step; but the work is extremely plain, and there is neither wing 
nor pediment. At Pembroke College there is a further modifi- 
cation of the type. The step disappears, and, instead of it, a 
plinth extends along the whole length of the case. The wing, 
however, remains, as a survival of the lost step, and helps to 
give dignity to the base of the standard, which is surmounted 
by a semicircular pediment, beneath which is a band of fruit 
and flowers in high reliefI. 
I will now describe a very interesting bookcase at King's 
College, Cambridge (fig. I 13), which was put up in 1659, with 
a bequest from Nicholas Hobart, formerly Fellow". It remains 
in its original position in one of the chapels on the south side 
of the choir, which were used for library-purposes till the present 
library was built by \Vilkins in 1825. It has several details in 
common with those at S. J olm's College, as originally con- 
structed, and will help us to understand their aspect before they 
were altered. There is a lofty plinth, a broad member interposed 
bet\\:een the first and second shelf, a central vertical pilaster; 
and, as at Peterhouse, and elsewhere, a step or 'podium' with 
a wing. But, with these resemblances to cases in which books 
are arranged as at present, it is curious to find the usual 
indications of chaining, which we know from other sources 
was not given up in this library until 1777. There are locks 
on the end of the case just below each of the two shelves, and 
scars on the vertical pilasters caused by the attachment of the 
iron-work that carried the bar. Further, just below the broad 
band, a piece of wood of a different quality has been inserted 
into the pilasters, evidently to fill up a vacancy caused by the 
removal of some part of the original structure, probably a desk 
or shelf. 

1 These descriptions are aU borrowed from Professor Willis, Arch. Hisl. Vo\. III. 
pp. 454--1-58, 460, 465. 

 Arch. Hisl. Vo\. I. p. 538. 




The antiquary \\ïlliam Cole, \\riting in 1744, describes these 
chapels when used as libraries. Each chapel hdd five bookcases, 
.. two at the extremities, which are but half-cases, and three in 
the body, of which the middlemost is much loftier than the 
rest." In the chapel fitted up by Hobart, Cole teJls us that" at 


(1\ \ 




 I 1 




ç ,
fiI'H1 rn::11I '\ 

 1- JtUt r rn I

i U1.L I 
I -r-t 
l ]1b bl J
\. r t __ 1 t '
r 1..---- --f 1 , 

, II 

' L " 
, ' 



I I 






Fig_ "3. Bookcase in the old Library of King's College, Cambridge, made 
with the bequest of Nicholas Hobart, 1659. 

the end of the biggest middle class is \\ rote in gold letters 
LFGA\ rT NICOl AUS HOB \J.:.T r6591." ;\s the chapel is only 
20 f1. long, the inter\"als between the cases could hardly have 
exceeded 2 ft., and as the buoks were chained they must have 
been consulted standing. 
A similar return to ancient forms is to be found in the library 
of Queen's College, Oxford, begun in 1692. The architect is said 

1 .-/r,h. Efisl. I. p. 




to have been Nicholas Hawkesmoore, to whom the fittings, put 
up in the first fourteen years of the eighteenth century" are also 
ascribed. This library is 123 ft. long by 30 ft. wide. There 
are ten bookcases on each side at right angles to the walls 
between the windows. Each case is about 11ft. high, and 
2 ft. 6 in. wide; but, though their ornamentation is in the 
style of the period, of which they are splendid examples, their 
general design exactly reproduces the old type. In their original 
state they were provided with desks, though there is no evidence 
that the books were chained; they had only two shelves above 
that which was on the ]eve] of the top of the desk; and there 
was a double seat between each pair of cases. The space above 
the second shelf, between it and the cornice, was occupied by a 
cupboard, handsomely ornamented with carved panels, for small 
books or manuscripts
. In fact, the only innovation which the 
designer of these remarkable cases permitted himsdf to emp]oy 
waS to make the moldings of their cornices continuous with that 
of the panelwork which he carried along the sides of the room, 
and into the jambs of the windows. The space below the desk 
was utilised for books, but, as these were found to be incom enient 
of access, the desks and seats were taken a\\ay in 18 7 1 , and 
dwarf bookcases provided in front of the windows. 
\Vhen the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury built their 
library, no\\ called the HO\dey-Harrison Library, in 1669-7 0 , 
they constructed a room on strictly medieval lines. It is 65 ft. 
long by 2 I ft. broad, with seven equidistant windows in the north 
wall and six in the south wall. The bookcases, \\ hich are plain 
medieval stalls, project from the \valls at right angles beÌ\\'een 
the \\ indows. 
There is another class of libraries which must be briefly 
mentioned in this chapter, namely, those connected with parish 
1 This date is given on the authOlity of the present Provu,t, John Richard 
Magrath, D.D. 
2 A view of the Library in it, original ,tate is given in Ingram's 1I1cIJI0I ials, 
Queen's ColIege, p. 12. An article in Kotes alld (!zw-ies, 6th Ser. 1\'. 4+ 2 , by the 
Rev. Robert Lowes Clarke, l\I.A., Fellow and Librarian, contains the follo\\ing 
passage: "The bookcases \\ ere fitted \\ ith reading desks, as at the Bodleian, and 
there \\ ere fixed oak seats in each recess. T11ese \\ ere convenient in some ways, and 
helped to make the room seem a place for ,tudy rather than a store for materials, but 
they made the lo\\er she!\'e, hard of access, and were removed in .SjI to gi\e room 
for new cases." 

\ II] 



churches and grammar-schools. I suppuse that after the destruc- 
tion of monastic libraries all over the country, the dearth of 
books would be acutely felt, and that gradually those who hall 
the cause of education at heart established libraries in central 
situations, to \\ hich persons in quest of knowledge might resort. 



Fig. 114. Ground plan of Library, Grantham, Lincolnshire. 
Scale one quarter of an inch to one foot. 

The library (fig. 114) at Granthdm in Lincolnshire occupies a 
small room, 16 feet from north to south by 14 feet from east to 
west, over the south porch of the parish church, approached by a 
newel stair from the south aisle. I t was founded in 1598 by 
the Reverend FrJ.ncis Trigg, rector of \Vellbourn; and in 16 4 2 , 
E.dward Skipworth "out of his love and well-wishing to Ic<lrning, 
<lJ1d to encourage the vicars of Grdntham to pursue their studies 
in the winter-time, gave fifty shillings, the yearly interest thereof 
tu provide firewood for the library fire." From this language I 
conclude that the original gift of books WdS made for the benefit 
uf the vicdr for the time bein

C. L. 


25 8 



There are three bookcases set against the walls, each about 
6 ft. high and 6 ft. long. A considerable number of the books 
still bear their chains, which are composed of long flat links 
closely resembling those at Guildford, with a ring and swivel 
next to the bar. The library-room, bookcases, and books-was 
carefully restored and repaired in 18 94 1 . 
At Langley Marye or Marish in Buckinghamshire near 
Slough, a library was founded in 16 2 3 by Sir John Keder- 
minster "as well for the perpetual benefit of the vicar and 
curate of the parish of Langley, as for all other ministers and 
preachers of God's \Vord that would resort thither to make use 
of the bouks therein." He placed it under the charge of the four 
tenants of his almshouses, who were to keep safe the books, and 
the key of the room, under stringent penalties
The library is a small room on the south side of the church, 
entered through the squire's pew, to which there is a separate 
door in the south wall. The fittings are of an unusual character, 
and lMve been preserveò unaltered. The whole room is panelled 
at a distance of 15 in. from the wall, so as to make a series of 
cupboards, in which the buoks are contained. The doors of 
these cupboards are divided into panels, alternately square and 
oblong. Each of the former contains a small figure painted in 
colours on a black ground; each of the latter a shield, or some 
heraldic device. The inner surface of these doors is similarly 
divided into panels, on each of which is painted an open book. 
Above the cupboards, just under the flat ceiling, is a series of 
more ur less imaginary landscapes, doing duty as a frieze. Over 
the fireplace is a very beautifu] piece of decoration consisting of 
a large oval shield with various coats of arms painted on it. It 
is set in an oblong panel, in the spandrels of which are painted 
seated figures of Prudence, Justice, Temperance, Fortitude, with 
their emblems and suitable mottoes 3 . 
In 162 9, the following entry occurs in what is called" the 
Church Book" of Cartmel, in Lancashire: 

1 For these details I have to thank the late Canon H. Nelson. I visited Grantham 
in 18 95 with my friend J\Ir T. D. Atkinson, architect. \\ho drew the above plan. 
" Report if COlllm. for Inquiring COllcerni/lg CharitÙ's, Vol. II. pp. 95- 100 . 
3 This description of the library is partly from my own notes, taken 7 July, 19 01 , 
partly from Hornby's IValks about Eto/l, 18 94' 

V II] 



q July, 1629. It is ordered and agreed upon that the church- 
\\ardens se,lte in the body of the churche shall be enlarged both in the 
"ideness and in the deske that the bookes given unto the church may 
bee more convenientlie laid and chained to remain there according to 
the directions of the donors I. 
The will of Humphry Chetham, a wealthy merchant of 
:\Ianchester, dated 16 December, 1651, directs /;200 to be spent 
on certain specified books, 
to be, by the discretion of my E"\ecutors, chained upon Desks, or 
to be fixed to the Pillars, or in other com'enient Places, in the Parish 
Churches of iJIanchcstcr and Boultoll tiz the ilIoors, and in the Chapels 
of Turton, lVal11lesley, and Gorton, in the said County of Lancaster 2 . 
The bookcase at Gorton 3 is a cupboard of oak, 7 ft. long 
by 3 ft. high and 19 in. deep, raised upon four stout legs, 
22 in. high. On opening the doors, the interior is seen to 
be divided into two equal parts by a vertical partition, and again 
by a horizontal shelf. The shelf and the partition are both 
9 in. deep, so as to lea\'e a considerable interval in front of 
them. The bars-of which there is one for each division-rest 
in a socket pierced in a small bracket screwed to each end of 
the case, in such a position that the bar passes just in front of 
the shelf. A flat piece of iron, nailed to the central division, 
carries a short hasp, which passes over the junction of the bars, 
and is there secured by a lock. By this arrangement no person 
could withdraw either bar without the key. The chains, of iron, 
tinned, are of the same type as those at Hereford, but the links 
are rather longer and narrower. They are attached to the 
volume in the same manner, either near the bottum of the right 
buard, or near the top of the left board. There are scars on the 
lower edge of the case, and on the legs, which Seem to indicate 
that there might once have been a desk. Otherwise, the books, 
when read, must have rested on the reader's knees. The whole 
piece of furniture closely resembles one dated 1694 at Bolton in 
Lancashire to be described below (fig, 116). 
The bookcase at Turton' resembles that at Gorton so closely 
I Old Chllrch alld School Libraries of Lallcashire, Ly R. C. Chri,tie, Chetham 
Soc., 18Ri', p. 76. 
2 rhe lasl will oj HumPhry Chelham, ,.to. :\Ianchester, n. d. p. ,.2. 
,\ This bookc:L,e stood in the !'ational School-room when I examined it in r885. 
In IS9S the books "'ere thoroughly repaired. 
· The front of Ihis bookca
e is figureð on Ihc title-page of Bihliographicallt 'Ii, oS 
{'fine Cnllrch LibJarÙs al Tllrloll altd Corloll. Chetham Soc., 11'i'
, p. .





that it needs no particular description. The doors are richly 
carved, and on the cornice above them is the following in- 
scription, carved in low relief: 


Besides these parochial libraries 1\lr Chetham directed the 
foundation (among other things) of" a Library within the Town 
of JIalldLCsta, for the Use of Scholars, and others well affected, 
to resort unto... the same Books there to remain as a public 
Library for ever; and my Mind and \Vill is, that Care be taken, 
that none of the said Books be taken out of the said Library at 
any Time... the same Books [to] be fixed or chained, as well as 
may be, within the said Library, for the better Preservation 
thereo(" In order to carry out these provisions the executors 
buught an ancient building called the College, which is 
known to have been cumpleted before 1426 by Thomas Lord 
de la \Varre, as a college in connexion with the adjoining 
cullegiate church, now the Cathedral 1. The library was placed 
in two long narrow rooms on the first floor, the original destina- 
tion of which is uncertain. They are at right angles to each 
other, and have a united length of 137 ft. 6 in., with a 
breadth of 17 ft. The south and west walls are picrced with 
fourteen three-light windows, probably inserted by Chetham's 
executors; the east and west walls are blank. 
The existing fittings, though they have been extensively 
altered 2 from time to time, are in the main those which" ere 
originally put up. The bookcases, of oak, are placed in medieval 
fashion at right angles to the windows. They are IO ft. long, 
2 ft. wide, and were originally 7 ft. high, but have been 
pieced apparently twice, so that they now reach as high as the 
wall-plate. Each pair of cases is 6 ft. apart, so as to make 
a small compartment, closed by wooden gates, which now upen 

1 The architectural hbtory of these buildings has been admirably worked uut, in 
Old I/alls Ùl La1lcashire alld Cheshire, by Henry Taylor, Architect, -I-to. Manchester, 
188-1-, PI'. 3 1 -4 6 . 
2 These alterations probably began when the fullowing Order was made: 
"Tuesday, 24 July, Ij8j. That a Committee be appuinted to inspect the Librmy 
along "ith the Librarian, consisting of the Treasurer [etc.]; And that such 
Committee shall have power to repair and- make such Alterations in the Library as 
they may think proper." 
o Orda fur taking off the chains has been discovered. 




in the middle; but a lock attached to one side of the end of 
each cao.;e indicates that orig-inally the gates were in one piece. 
The cases are quite plain, with the exception of a few panels at 
the end. On the uppermost of these, \\ hich is oblong, and 
extends from side to side of the case, the subjects of the worb 
are written: as, PIIILOSOPIII.-\; and bencath, in smaller charac- 
ters, JlnthC11lntica, Ph)'sica, illdnrk/'sica. . \11 indications of 
ch,1Ïning have been obliterated, but a refcrence to the earliest 
account-book which has been presen'ed, that beginning 20 April, 
, 68 5. shews that the founder's directions were obeyed: 
20 Apr. 1685. To James Wilson for Cheining ten 
books... ......... .. .... ... ...... ...... 0 2 6 
1686. --- for making 26 
large Claspes and (,heining 26 
hookes,.. .......................... ...... 0 4 4 
Iar. I686-8ï. for Chcining and 
Clasping 12 doz. bookes............ 00 18 00 
Chains \\'ere evidently kept as a part of thc stock-in-trade 
of the libralY, to bc used as required. for, at the end of an 
Invcntory taken 18 Novcmbcr, 1684. wc find: 
.\lsoe in the Lihrary two globes; three :\Iapps; two quere" of larg 
papcr to make tables; a paper fol-booke; .\ Ruleing pcnn; 2.J. dossen 
Chains; ,\ geniological roul; and a larg serpent or snaks skin. 

At \\'imborne :\Iinster the books arc placed in a small room, 
,.bout fifteen feet square, over the vestry, a building in the 
Decorated style, situatcd between the 
south transept and the south aisle of the 
choir. .\ccess to this room is obtaincd 
by a turret-stair at the south-\\'c'it corner. 
It was fitted up as a library in 1686, 
whcn the greater part of the books were 
given by the Rcv. \\ïlliam Stone. There 
are two plain wooden sheh-cs, carried 
round three sidcs of the room. Thc 
chains are attached to thc right-hand 
board of each book, instead of to the 
left-hand board, and they are made uf 
iron wire, t\\'io.;ted as shewn in the sketch 
(fig. I 15). The swivel, instcad of bcing 

IU ì '( 

--- ----

Fig. irS. Ring and link 
of chain: Wimborne 


central, plays in a twist of the wire which forms the ring 
attached to the book. The iron bars are supported on eyes, 
and are secured by a tongue of iron passed over a staple fixed 
into the bracket which supports the shel( The tongue was 
originally kept in its place by a padlock, now replaced by 
a wooden peg. N" 0 desk was attached to the shelves, but in 
lieu of it a portable desk and stool were provided 1. 
A library was built over the porch of the parish church at 
Denchworth 2 , Berks, in 1693, and" stocked with 100 books well 
secured with chains," presumably for the use of the vicar anù 
his successors; and in 1715, \\'iIIiam Brewster, lVI.D., bequeathed 
285 volumes to the churchwardens of All Saints' Church, Here- 
ford, for the same purposes. The books were placed in the 
vestry, where they still are. They are all chained on a system 
copied from that in use at the Chapter Library. 
In addition to collections of books, which varied in extent 
according to the taste, or the means, of the donor, single volumes 
are often found chained in churches. These do not come within 
the scope of this Essay, and I will therefore pass on to notice 
some libraries connected with Grammar Schools. 
At Abingdon in Berkshire, the school, founded 1563, had 
a library, some volumes of which, bearing thcir chains, are still 
preservcd. There was a similar collection at Bicester in Oxford- 
shire, where a school is said to have been in existence before 
1570. In 1571 James Pilkington, Bishop of Durham (1561- 
1577), by will dated 4 February in that year, bequeathed his 
books to the school at Rivington in Lancashire. The following 
extracts from the statutes, said to have been made shortly after 
the arrival of the books, remind us of monastic provisions.. 
The Governors shall the first day of e\"l
ry quarter when they come 
to the School take an account of all such books as have been gi\'en to 
1 Sketches of El1glish Litt'rature, by Clara Lucas Balfour, 12mo. Lond. 18:;2. 
Introduction. In the description of the library there given the padlochs are specially 
mentioned. Compare also, A History of IVil/lbOr1t<! .Jlitlster, 8vo. Lond. 1860; and 
Hutchins' Dorsetshire, ed. 1803, Vol. II. p. ;;;;t. 
" Not<!s aud Queries, Series 6, Vol. IV. p. 30t. _The library was destroyed in 
18;;2 \\hen the Church \\a< restored by 
1r George Street, Architect. 
3 The History tif All Saints' Church, Hereford, by Re\. G. H. Culshaw, M.A., 
8vo. Hereford, 1892. 
4 Old Church and School Libraries of L""c<1shire, by R. C. Christie, Chetham 
Soc., 188;;, p. 189' 



26 3 

the School, and if any be picked away torn or written in they shall 
cause him that so misused it to buy another book as good and lay it in 
the place of it and there to be used continually as others be. 
The Schoolmaster and Usher whensocver the Scholars go from the 
School shall cause all such books as have been or shall be given to the 
School and occupied abroad that day to be brought into the place 
appointed for them, and there to be locked up; and every morning 
"hall cause the dictionaries, or such other books as are meet to be 
occupied abroad by the Scholars, that have none of their own, to be 
laid abroad, and see that none use to write in them, pull out leaves, 
nor carry them from the School; and if any misuse any book, or pick it 
a....ay, the Governours shall cause him to buy another as good, to be laid 
in the stead of it, and occupied as the other was. 
.\nd for the books of divinity, the Schoolmaster and Usher and such 
dS give themselves to study divinity, shall occupy them, that they ma} 
be the more able to declare any article of the catechism or religion to 
the scholars; and in the church to make some notes of the Chapters 
that be read that the people may better understand them and remember 
what is read. And yet these books they shall not carry out of the 
School, without license of the Governours, and on pain to bring it 
again, or else to buy one as good, in its stead, and to be allowed out 
of the Master's or Usher's wages. 
If any preacher come and desire to ha,'c the use of some of those 
books, they shall let him ha \-e the use of them for a time so that they 
see them brought in again; none other shall carry them from the School 
e'l.cept they have license of half the Govcrnours and be bound to bring it 
safe again. 

In 1573 John Parkhurst, Bishop of 
or\Vich (15 60 - 1 575), 
bequeathed "the most part" of his Latin books to his native 
town Guildford, to be placed in "the Lybrarie of the same 
Towne ioyning to the Schole." These books, after some le
difficulties had been overcome, were brought to Guildford. and 
placed in a gallery which connected the two wings of the school, 
and had been begun in 1571. The books were fa<;tened to the 
shelves with chains, one of which has been already figured 
(fig. 58). There is evidence that the library was well cared for, 
and augmented by various donations, which were regularly 
chained as they came in, down to thc end of the lith centuryl. 
Henry Bury, founder of the free school at Bury in Lancashire 
in 1625, directed in his will that a convenient place should be 
fuund for the library, because, as he proceeds to say: 

I Calli. AnI. Soc. Proc. a"d C011l1ll. Vol. VIII. pp. 11-18. In 18
9 th" book. 
which remained were put in ord"r an<l set on ne\\ sheh "s hy th" care anti at the c.",t 
of II. A. Powell, Fsq. 

26 4 



I have already ge\" trust for the use of Bury Parish and the 
countrie therabouts, of ministers also at ther metinge and of schole 
maisters and others that seek for learninge and knowledge, above si}. 
hundreth bookes, and some other such things as I thought might helpe 
for their delight, and refresh students, as globes mappes pictures and 
some other things not every wheare to bee seene. 
This language shews that this provident benefactor intended 
his library to be public. It is pleasant to be able to record that 
some of the books which he ga\"e are still in existence 1 . 
Lastly I will figure (fig. 116) the press given in 1694 by 
" ] ames Leaver citison of London," to the Grammar School at 
Bolton in Lancashire. It closely resembles those gi\'en by 
Humphry Chetham to Turton and Gorton. The system of 
ironwork by which the bars are kept in p]ace is exactly the 
same; and it retains the desk, traces of which exist at Gorton. 
In my enumeration of the libraries attached to schools and 
churches, I ha\'e drawn special attention to the fact that in 
nearly all of them the books were chained. I n explanation of 
this it might be argued that these libraries \\"ere in remote places, 
to which new ideas would not easily penetrate, but I am about 
to shcw that this method of protcction, which bcgan in a rcmote 
past, was maintained with strange persistency down to modern 
times. I shall collect some furthcr instances of the chaining of 
books in places where it might ha\"c been expected that such 
things would be no longer thought of; and in conclusion I shall 
record somc dates at which the final removal of chains took 
In the library of the Faculty of Medicine, Paris, the books 
werc ordered to be chained in 1509, in consequence of some 
thefts; and these chains were still attached to certain books in 
17ï O '. At Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, in 1554, it was 
ordered that the books bequeathcd by Peter ;.Jobys, D.D. (l\lastcr 
15 16 - 2 3), should be taken bcttcr care of for the future, and, if 
the chains werc broken, that they should bc repaired at thc 
expense of the college". In 1555, Robert Chaloner, Esq., 
bequeathed his law books to Gray's Inn, with forty shillings in 

I Old CllIIych a"d School Libraries of I allmshin, by R. C. Christie, Chetham Soc. 
p. 139. 
! Franklin, Allc. Bib!. Vol. II. p. 2'=;. 
Iasters, History, p. 62. 




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26 5 

money, to be paid to his cousin, U to th' entent that he maie by 
cheines therwith and fasten so manye of them in the Librarye 
at Grauisin [Gray's Inn] as he shall think convenyente 1 ." 
At S. John's College, Cambridgc, in 1563-4, three shillings 
were paid to .. Phillip Stacyoner for cornering, bo!"sing. and 
chayninge Allato11lia11l Vessalii etc. K " In 15ï3, Dr Caius directs 
by will tweh'e copies of his own works to be gi,'cn to his 
college, "there to be kepte as the other bokcs are, and to be 
successive1ye tyed with chaynes in the Libraryc of the same 
College 3 ." Dr Perne, 
Iaster of Peterhouse, by will dated 
25 Fcbruary, 1588, directs that all his books therein bequeathed 
"be Iayed and chayned in the old Librarie of the Colledge 4 ." 
At Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1601, :\1r Peter Shaw gave 
;/;5 towards the" cheyning and desking of his bookes given to 
the newe liberaric.... In 1638-9, when a new ]ibrary \\ as 
complcted for thc Barber Surgeons of London, ;/;6. 18s. were 
spent on binding and chaining, as for instance: 

Paid for 3 6 yards of chaine at 4fl the yard and 36 yards at 3d. the 
}ard cometh to x\.ijs. vjd. 
Paid to the coppersmith for eastinge 80 brasses to fasten the chaines 
to the bookcs-xiijs. iiijd. 6 

Sir Matthew Hale, who died in 16ï6, directed in his will 
that certain manuscripts should be gi,'en to the Honourable 
Socicty of Lincoln's Inn: "My desire," he said, "is that they bc 
kept safe and also in remembrance of me. They were fit to be 
bound in leathcr and chained and kept in archives 7." In the 
will of :\Iduhe\\ Scrivener, Rector of I1asling-fie1d in Cambridge- 
shire, dated 4 :\Iarch, 16Sï, the following passage occurs: "I gi,'e 
fifty pounds in trust for the usc of th
 public Library [at 
Cambridgc], either by buyin g chains for the securinu the books 
at prcsent therein contained, or for the increase of the number 

I Th, Gllild of th, Corl'lIs Christi, Jórk, ed. Surtee. Society, 18;1, p. 106, 'lOft. 
· S. John's College Audit.llook, I;;6.
-4, Exp. 1I"",ss. 
3 Commisso Dods. (Cambridge), II. 3 0 9. 
· Arch. Hisl. III. ..;;... 
· Sen. Bur.. Accounts, 1600-1, R'Ct'pta. 
8 "'emortals of th, Craft of SlIrgny ;11 1:lIglum!, ed, U'.-\rcy 1'0\\ er. Ih o. Lundon 
'j(j, p. 13 0 . 
7 I [erbert, Inns of COllrt, p. .




of them 1." At the church of S. Gatien at Tours it is recorded 
in 17 18 that the library which occupied one alley of the cloister 
was well stocked with mdnuscripts, chained on desks, ,,,hich 
stood both against the wall and in the middle of the room 2. 
Lastly, in ISIS, John Fells, mariner, gave :1;3 0 to found a 
theological library in the church of S. Peter, Liverpool. " The 
books were originally fastened to open shelves in the vestry 
with rods and chains 3 ." 
Towards the end of the eighteenth century the practice was 
finally abandoned. At Eton College in 1719 it was" Order'd 
to take ye Chains off ye Books in ye Library, except y. Founder's 
Manuscripts."; at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, the removal of 
them began in 1757 5 ; at King's College, Cambridge, the books 
were unchained in 1777 6 ; at Brasenose College, Oxford, in 
17 807 ; and at :\lerton College in 179 28 . 
In France the custom was evidently abandoned at a much 
earlier date, for the authors of the Voyage Litt/mire, who visited 
more than eight hundred monasteries at the beginning of the 
eighteenth century, with the special intention of examining their 
records 3.nd their libraries, rarely allude to chaining, and when 
they do mention it, they use language which implies that it was 
a curious old fashion, the maintenance of which surprised them 9 . 

1 DoCt/ments relatÏllg to St Catharine's College, ed. H. Philpott, D.D., p. 12 5. 
. 1,>yage Litllrgiq/le de la Joì-allU, by Le Sieur de :\Ioléon, 1718. I have to thank 
Dr James for this reference. 
sOld Clwrcl. Libraries, lit supra, p. 102. 
4 Eton College Minute Book, 19 December, 17 1 9' 
5 Macray. ut SlIPra, p. 86. The incom-enience of chaining had long been felt for 
in TM Foreigll'7's Companion tllrough the U,Jiversities, by :\Ir Salino", I 7 ..
, it is 
objected that" the books being chain'd down, there is no bringing them together even 
in the Library," p. 27. 
6 King'sCol1ege :\Iundum Book, 1777: SlIlitl,'S work. .. To a man's time 9 Dayes 
to take the Chains of the books /:,1. is. ad." 
; Churton's Li7'es of SIIl).tl. and Sill/Oil. p. 3 I I, /late. 
8 lIenrlerson's lIistory, p. 237. 
9 Val'. Litt., erl. 172.., Yo\. III. p. 2... 



.. HILE in England we were struggling with the 
_ / 
 difficulties of adapting medieval forms of libra- 
ries and bookcases to the ever-increasing number 

;", of volume,_ a new 'ptem wa< ;n;tiated on the 
Ë ' continent, \\ hich I propose to call the waIl- 
It seems so natural to us to set our booksheh-es against a 
wall instead of at right angles to it, that it is difficult to realize 
that there was a time when such an arrangement was an in- 
novation. Such however was the case. I believe that this 
principle was first introduced into a library at the Escñrial, 
which Philip the Second of Spain began in 1563, and completed 
13 September, 1584. I do not mean by this sentence that 
nobody ever set bookshelves against a wall before the third 
quarter of the sixteenth century. I have shewn above, when 
discussing the catalogue of ÜO\.er Priory I, that the books stood 
on pieces of furniture which were probably so treated; and it is 
not uncommon in illuminated manuscripts to see a writer's 
book.. standing un one or more shelves set against the waIl 
near his des\.... Further, in the accounts of the library arranged 

I See ahove, p. 19 6 . 




1\1 the Vatican by 
Sixtus IV., shelves 
set against the wall 
of one of the four 
rooms are specially 
mentioned I; and in 
thedescri ption of the 
library of the Dukes 
of Urbino, it is ex- 
prcssly stated that 
"the shelves for the 
books are sct against 
the walls 
k scall:::ie 
dc' libri S01/O aeeos/ate 
a/Ie 11ll/raY." "'hat 
I wish to enforcc is 
that before the Es- 
cÖrial was built, no 
important library 
",a<; fitted up in that 
manner from the 
beginning by the 
The library of 
thc EscÖrial 3 occu- 
pics a commanding 
posi tion ewer the por- 
tico through which 
thc building is en- 
tereù. It is 212 ft. 

1 See above, p. 224' 
" See ahove, p. 2.B' 
.1 For Ihe hi
lory of the 
Escì.rial, see Ford, lltllld- 
book for Spain, Ed. I!!
Pl" j 49-j 6 3, and D<'Soip- 
cioll..,dd Esrorial, Fra de 
Ins Santos, fol. !\Iadrid. 
I6Sï. with the Engli
lran..lation by G. Thomp- 
son, 4to. London, I jfío. 

-- - -
I I 

 ,4 ' 
\ . .. ,ø 
11 a....
,.&., .... ' '1 U 
,f I 
r. , : I ,I ' 
, ,:" 1 
I , I 
II! ., \,rl 
I' II 
1\ I 





Fig. 118. 

Bookcases in the Library of the Escõrial on an 
enlarged scale. 










 ,=- . 
\ b L:::: -: 




\ .- 




... ' 



- ... 
"' . .- 
, - 
., - 
, I, 







,- , 



{ - ", ,,
, . 

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, ' -." '- .... 
,..... -- 
.... .... '
....".... .......-- 




, ,I 





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--- - 






. . 





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\ III] 



long, by 35 ft. broad and about 36 ft. high. The roof is 
a barrel-vault, gorgeously painted in fresco, as are the wall- 
spaces above the bookcases, and the semicircular lunettes at 
the ends of the room. In that at the north end is Philosop!l)', 
in that at the 
outh end is Theology, while between them 
are personifications of Grammar, Rhetoric, Logic, l\Iusic, etc. 
On the walls, forming a gigantic frieze, are various his- 
torical scenes, anù figures of celebrdted persons real and 
imaginary, as for instance, the first Nicene Council, the School 
of Athens, Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, Cicero, David, 
Orpheus, etc. The general appearance of this splendid room 
will be understood from the view (fig. 117). It is lighted by 
five windows on the east side and seven on the west side, to 
which is adùed on the east side a range of five smaIler windows 
just under the vault. The principdl windows are quite different 
from those of any other library I ha'"e been considering, for they 
are nearly 13 ft. high, anù extend down to the floor. 
The wall-spaces between each pair of windows have book- 
cases fitted to them, of a very original and striking design. 
They are divided into compartments by fluted Doric columns 
supporting an entablature with projecting cornice, above which 
again is a sort of seconù entablature. The bases of the column" 
rest upon an extremely lofty plinth, intersected, at about three- 
quarters of its height from the ground, by a shelf, behind which 
is d sloping desk. The material used for these cases is mahogdny, 
inlaid with ebony, cedar, and other woods. They were designed 
by Juan de Herrera, the architect of the building, in 1584, and I 
am assured that they have escaped alteration, or serious damage 
from the numerous fires which have occurred in the palace. 
In order to exhibit the distinctive peculiarities of these 
remarkable cases as clearly as possible, I give (fig. 118) an 
enlargement of part of the former view; and further, an 
elevation of one of them drdwn accurately to scale (fig. 119), 
for which I hd\"e to thank a Spanish architect, Don Ricardo 
These bookcases have a total height of rather more than 
12 ft., mea'iured from the floor to the top of the cornice. The 
desks are 2 ft. 7 in. from the floor, a height which corresponùs 
\\ ith that of an ordinary table, and suggests that they must 

27 0 


[ CHAP. 

have been intended for the use of seated readers, though seats 
are not provided in the library at present. The section of the 



12 6 0 
I I I I I 



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f:- l' -'J' 
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8 9 10 11 
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Fig. 119, Elevation of a bookcase, and section of a desk in the Library of the Escõrial. 


3 4 5 6 7 
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shelf and desk placed beside the elevation shews that there is 
a convcnient slope to lay the books against. The uppermost 
of the four shelves is at a height of 9 ft. from the ground, so 
that a ladder is required to reach the books. The two 
photographs which I have reproduced (figs. 117, I IS) shew that 
they have the fore-edge turned outwards, according to what is, 
I am informed, the usual custom in Spain. 
I believe that the work done in the Escãrial had a very 

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definite effect on library-fittings elsewhere; but, like other 
important inventions, the scheme of setting sheh es against a 
wall instead of at right angles to it occurred to more than one 
person at about the same period; and therefore I C,1I1110t 
construct a genealogical tree, as I once thought I could, \\ ith the 
Escãrial at the root, and a numerous progeny on the branches. 
Beh\een 1603 and 1609-only 25 years afterwards-Cardinal 
Federigo 13orromeo built, endowed, 
and furnished the Biblioteca .-\m- l 
brosiana at 1\Iilan. A plain Ionic 
portico, on the cornice of which 
are the words BIBLIOTHEC-\ 
.-\, gives access to a 
single hall, on the ground floor, 74 ft. 
long by 29 ft. broad (fig. 120). The 
walls are lined with bookcases about 
13 ft. high, separated, not by columns, 
but by flat pilasters, and protected 
by wire-work of an unusually large 
mesh, said to be original. At each 
corner of the hall is a staircase, 
leading to a gallery, 2 ft. 6 in. wide. 
The cases in this gallery are about 
R ft. 6 in. high. Above them again 
is a frieze consisting of a series of 
portraits of saints in oblong frames. 
The roof is a barrel-vault, orna- 
mented with plaster-work. Light 
is admitted through two enormous 
semi-circular windows at each end 
of the room. X 0 alteration, I was Fig. 120. Ground-plan of the Am- 
informed when I visited the library brosian Library at Milan 
in 1898, has been permitted. Even 
the floor of plain tiles, with four 
tables (one at each corner), and a central brazier, is left as the 
Cardinal arranged it. 
A good idea of the appearance of this noble room will be 
obtained from the general view (fig. 121 )1. The way in which 


. .a. T 

Reduced from Ihat given by 
P. P. Boscba. 

1 I have to Ihank the librarian, 
Ion>ignorc Ceriani, for kindly aIlO\, ing thi, 
photograph to be Iaken for my use. 

27 2 



the books were arranged was evidently thought remarkable at 
the time, for a contemporary writer says of it "the room is not 
blocked with desks to which the books are tied with iron chains 
after the fashion of the libraries which are common in monas- 
teries, but it is surrounded with lofty shelves on which the 
books are sorted according to size l ." 
This library was part of a larger scheme which included a 
college of doctors, a school of art, a museum, and a botanic 
garden; an of which were amply endowed. The library was 
to be open not merely to members of the college, but to the 
citizens of Milan and all strangers who came to study there; 
but the severest penalties awaited those who stole a volume, 
or even touched it with soiled hands; and only the Pope 
himself could absolve them from such crimes 2 . 
Before m,lI1Y years were over these novelties in library 
arrangement and librdry administration found a ready welcome 
in France, where Cardinal lVIazarin was engaged in the formation 
of a vast collectiun of books intended to surpass that of his 
predecessor Richelieu 3 . Even then his library was public; all 
who chose to come might work in it on Thursdays from 8 to I I 
in the morning, and from 2 to 5 in the afternoon. At a ]ater 
period of his life, when he had removed to a palace now 
included in the 13ibliothèque Nationale, he was able to build 
a library in accordance with his magnificent ideas. An accident 
of construction placed this room over the stables, a conjunc- 
tion which afforded endless amusement to the pamphleteers of 
the time. It was finished at the end of 1647; and in the 
following year the Cardinal threw it open, the first public 
library given to Paris. Publicè patere vo/uit, cellSlt perPduo 
dotavit, posteritati t"01JlIJIClldavit, said the inscription which he 
placed over the door of entrance. I need not attempt to 
recover from the somewhat conflicting accounts of admiring 
contemporaries the exact dimensions and arrangements of this 
gallery, for the bookcases still exist almost unaltered in the 

1 G/i Isliluli Scimlifici etc. di l
Ii/a1IO. 8\'0. Milan, 1880, p. 12 3, note. 

 Boscha, De OrigÙte et statu Bib/. AlIlbros. p. 19; aþ. Gr,
vius, Thes. Allt. et 
Hist. lta/iæ, V o\. IX. part 6; see also the Bull of l'aul \ ,dated 7 July 1608, approving 
the foundatiun and rehearsing the statutes, in lIIaguulll Bul/al Ùl1Jl ROlllallum, 4 to . 
Turin, 1867, Vo\. XI. p. 5 11 . 
3 For the hi
tory of the Biùliuthèque Mazarine see Franklin, .-llte. Bib/. Jè P"ris, 
Vol. III. pp. 37- 160 . 

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Fig. 122. Bookcases in the BibIiothèque Mazarine, Paris. 
From a photograph hy Dujardin, [!j9!!' 




Bibliothèque :\Iazarine. One detail deserves notice because it 
may have been borrowed from the Ambrosian Library. There 
is said to ha\.e been a staircase in each of the four corners of 
the room by which access to a gallery was obtained I. 
:\Ianrin died in 1661, and, in accordance with his will, a 
college, to be called Le Collège dcs QI/alre Nali011s, was founded 
and endowed, and the library was removed into it. The college 
was suppressed at the Revolution, and the buildings are now 
occupied by the blSlillll dc Frallcc, but the library remains 
practically intact. I t occupies two rooms at right angles to 
each other with : united length of about 158 ft., and a width 
of 27 ft. They are admirably lighted by 17 large windows. 
The bookcases (fig. 122), from the original library in the 
Palais :\Iazarin, were placed round the new room. At first they 
terminated with the cornice, surmounted by the balu'itrade 
which protected the gallery mentioned above, and the roof was 
arched. In 1739, when additional shelf-room was required, and 
the roof was in need of repair, it was agreed to construct the 
present flat ceiling, and to gain thereby wall-space of sufficient 
height to accommodate 20,000 additional books. The gallery 
thus formed is approached by two staircases constructed at the 
same time 2 . 
If the elevation of these cases (fig. 123) be compared with 
that of the cases in the Escõrial (fig. 119), I feel sure that my 
re.1ders will agree with me in admitting that the French 
example was copied from the Spanish. The general arrange- 
ment is the same, and especially the really distinctive features, 
namely, the division by columns, and the presence of a desk. 
I t will be observed that the French example is the larger of the 
t\\'o, being 18 ft. high from the floor to the top of the cornice. 
The desk, moreover, is 4 ft. from the floor, so that it \\'.1S 
e\'idently intended to be used standing. 
I am aware that Naudé, the librarian employed by 1\Iazarin 
to collect books for him, did not visit Spain, nor was Mazarin 
himself ever in that country. There is therefore no evidence to 
connect his library with that of Philip II., but in justification of 

I Fr:l.nklin, Allc. Bibl. de PflriS, \'01. III. pp. 55-6. 
, The minute of the con'ef\'atnrs of the lihrary authori,ing this chant;e is printed 
hy Franklin, lit slI/'m, p. II i. 

C. I. 





my theory I submit that the resemblance is too close to be 
accidental, and that in all probability the library at the Escõrial 
had been much talked of in the world of letters. 

12 6 0 
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Fig. 123. Elevation of a bookcase and section of a desk in the Bibliothèque Mazarine., Paris. 


3 4 5 6 7 
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The convenience of placing book-sheh-es against a wall was 
soon accepted in England, but at fir')t in a somewhat half- 
hearted fashion. The earliest in"tance of this, so far as I know, 
is to be met with in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, where the 
first stone of the eastern wing was laid in 1610, and completed, 
with the fittings, in 1612 1 . 

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Fig. 124. A portion of the bookcases set up in the eastern wing of the Bodleian 
Library, Oxford, built 16'0-,612. 
From Loggan's Oxollin IIIIIstrala, 1675- 

.\d\'antagc wa') taken of the whole of the wall-space prO\'ided 
by this extension, and it was lined with a bookcase extending 
from floor to ceiling. In order to provide easy access to the 
upper shelve'), a light gallery was prodded, the pillars of which 
were utilised to support a seat for the reader'), because, the 
Iacray, .-lmur/.., ut supra, p. ]j. 

18 - .! 


27 6 



books being still chained, desks and seats were indispensable. 
These cases still exist almost unaltered, but their appearance as 
first constructed has been preserved to us in Loggan's print, 
taken about 1675, part of which is here reproduced (fig. 12 4). 
In 1634 (13 I\iay) the first stone was laid of the enlargement 
of the library towards the west, corresponding exactly to the 
wing at the opposite end erected twenty-four years before 1. The 
fittings were on the same plan, but of a more elaborate and 
highly finished design, the plain supports of the former work 
being replaced by Ionic columns supporting arches with frieze 
and cornice, and a heavy balustrade for the gallery above. 
I now come to the influence exercised upon the architecture 
and fittings of libraries by Sir Christopher \Vren, and I shall be 
able to shew that though he did not actually introduce the 
wall-system into England, he developed it, adapted it to our 
requirements, and by the force of his genius shewed what 
structural changes were necessary in order to meet the increased 
number of books to be accommodated. \Vren never visited 
Italy, but in 1665 he spent about six months in Paris, where he 
made the acquaintance of the best painters, sculptors, and 
architects, among whom was the Italian Bernini. From him 
he might easily obtain information of what was passing in Italy, 
though he describes him as "the old reserved Italian" who 
would hardly allow him a glimpse of a design for which, says 
\\'ren, " I would have given my skin." French work he studied 
enthusiastically, and after giving a list of places he had visited 
says, "that I might not lose the impressions of them I shall 
bring you almost all France in paper." Among other things 
he specially records his admiration for what he terms "the 
masculine furniture of the l'alais I\1azarin," though he does not 
specially mention the library; but, as Mazarin had died four 
years before, his palace would have been practically dismantled, 
and the only furniture likely to attract \\'ren's attention would 
have been his bookcases 2 . 
The first piece of library work executed by \Vren in England 
was at Lincoln Cathedral, 1674, where after the Restoration a 
new library was required. Dr Michael Honywood, who had been 
appointed Dean in 1660, offered to build one at his own cost, 

I l\Jacray, ut sup/a, p. 80. 

 Elmes. Life 0/ Sir C. lVrm, pp. 180-184' Ptm:I1talia, p. 26.. 

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Fig. 125. Entrance to Wren's Library at Lincoln Cathedral, with part of the 
bookcase which lines the north wall. 

\ III] 



and to present to it the books which he had collected in 
Holland. The site selected was that formerly occupied by thc 
north alley of the cloister, which, through faulty construction, 
had fallen down, and lain in ruins for a long period. 
The building consists of an arcade of nine semicircular 
arches supported on eight Doric columns. The upper storey, 
containinq the libr,uy, has eleven windows in a similar classical 
style, and above there is a bold entablature ornamented with 
acanthus lea\'cs. The library is 10-1- ft. ]ong by 17 ft. 6 in. wide 
and I..J. ft. high; the ceiling is flat and perfectly pldin. In 
addition to the \\ indows above mentioned there is another at 
thc west end. The entrdnce is at the east end through a richly 
ornamcnted door (fig. 125). The shield in the centre of the 
pediment bears the arms of Dean Honywood, 
\\'ren placed a continuous bookcase along the north wall of 
this room, extending from floor to ceiling. At the base thcre 
is a plinth (fig. 125), which may have originally contained 
cupboards, but is now fitted with shelves; and at the top, close 
to the ceiling, there is a heavy entablature decorated with 
acanthus leaves and classical moldings above a plain cornice, 
which bears at inter\'als oblong tablets inscribed with the 
subjccts of the books beneath. The shelves are disposed in 
compartments, altcrnately wide and narrow, the former being 
set slightly in ad\"ance of the latter, so as to break the monotony 
of a bookcase of uniform width extending the whole length of a 
long room. 
\\"hile this work was proceeding \Vren planned the Xew 
Library for Trinity College, Cambridge 1 , begun 23 February, 
lú75- 6 . His design is accompanied by an explanation, contained 
in a rough draught of a letter to some gentleman of Trinity 
College, probably thc :\Iaster. It is not signed, but internal 
evidence shews that it must have been written or dictated by 
This library was placed on a cloister, open both to the east 
and to the west, at the end of X cvile's Court. The level of the 

I The hi_tory of this library has been fully narrated in Ihe Arch. His!., ut supra, 
Vol. II. pp. ;;31-
51. \\ ren's 
[emoir quoted below has been collated "ith Ihe 
original in the library of All Suub' College, Oxford. \\ here hi. de_ign_ are al,u 

27 8 



library floor was made to correspond with that of the first floor 
of the chambers on the north and south sides of the court. This 
is shewn in \\'ren's design, part of \\'hich is here reproduced 
(fig, 126), and explained in the following passage of his memoir. 




Irl II 1111I11 
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dlll'll " I III II 
Scale of Feet. 
 20 30 40 
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Fig. 126. Part of Wren's elevation of the east side of the Library of Trinity College, 
Cambridge, with a section of the north range of Nevile's Court, shewing the door 
to the Library from the first floor. 

[The design] shewes the face of the building next the court with the 
pa\-illions for the stairecases and the Sections of the old buildings where 
they joyne to the new.... 
I hauc given the appearance of arches as the Order required fair 
and lofty: but I haue layd the floor of the Library upon the impostes, 
which answar (sic) to the pillars in the cloister and the !evells of the old 
floores, and haue filled the Arches with reiieues of stone, of which I 
haue seen the effect abroad in good building, and I assure you where 
porches are lowe with flat ceeiings is infinitely more gracefull then lowe 
arches would be and is much more open and pleasant, nor need the 




mason frean
 (sÙ) the performance because the .\rch discharges the 
weight, and I shall direct him in a fir me manner of executing the 

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Fig. '27. Elevation of one bay on the east side of the Library of Trinity College 
Cambridge. drawn to scale from the existing building. 




By this contrivance the wi
dowes of the Library rise high and giue 
place for the deskes against the "ails, and being high may be afforded 
to be large, and being ,\ide may haue stone mullions and the glasse 
pointed, "hich after all inventions is the only durable "ay in our 
Climate far a publique building, where care must be had that snowe 
driue not in.... 

The general design seems to have been borrowed from that 
of the Library of S, l\Iark at Venice, begun by Sansovino in 
153 6 . The Italian architect, like Sir Christupher Wren, raised 
his library on a doister, which is in the Doric sty]e, while the 
superstructure is Ionic. The Venetian example is more ornate, 
and there are statues upon every pier uf the balustrade. The 
arcades are left open, because there WdS not the same necessity 
for accommodating the level of the floor to that of older 
buildings, and also because the "'all opposite to the window,s 
had to be left blank on account of the proximity of other 
structures. No consideration for fittings such as influenced 
\\' ren could have influenced the Italian architect. 
The style of \\'ren's work will be understood from the 
elevation of a bay on the edst side (fig. 127), drawn to scale 
flOm the existing building. If this be compared with the 
original design (fig. 126), it will be seen that the style there 
indicated has been dosely followed. 
\Ve will now consider the fittings. A long stretch of blank 
wall having been prm;ided both along the sides and at the ends 
of the room, \Vren proceeded to design a masterly combination 
of the old and new methods of arranging bookcases. As he 
says in another passage of the same memoir, when describing 
this part of his design: 

The disposition of the shelues both along the walls and breaking 
out from the walls....must needes proue very convenient and gracefull, 
and the best way far the students will be to haue a litle square table in 
each Celie with 2 chaires. The necessity of bringing windowes and 
dares to answer to the old building leaues two squarer places at the 
endes and 4 lesser Celles not to study in, but to be shut up with some 
neat Lattice dares for archives, 

The bookcases, designed by himself, were executed under 
his direction by Cornelius Austin, a Camûridge workman. My 
illustration (fig. 128) shews one of the" 4 lesser Celles" with one 
of its doors open, and next to it a "Celle" for students with 

table, revolving desk, and two stools. These pieces of furniture 
were also designed by \Vren. 
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Fig. 128. Intenor of the north-east corner of the Library of Trinity College. Cambridge, 
shewing the bookcases, table. desk and chairs. as designed by Sir C. Wren. 

The cases are 11ft. 10 in. high, and the wooden floor upon 
u'hich they stand is raised higher than that of the library. The 
great depth of the plinth, which \\ ren utilised for cupboards, 
recalls the plan of some of the older cases, and there is the little 
cupboard to contain the catalogue at the end of each standard; 
but, with these exceptions, there is nothing medieval about 
them except their position. On the top of each case is a 

quare pedestal of wood on which \Vren intended to place 
a statue, but this part of his scheme was not carried out. 
The celebrated Grinling Gibbons supplied the busts which take 
the place of \Vren's statues, and also the coats of arms and 
wreath'i of flowers and fruit \\ ith \\ hich the ends of the cases 
are decorated. 



[ C H.\. P. 

It is difficult to decide the source from which an architect 
so great as \Vren derived any feature of his buildings, but it 
seems to me reasonable to ascribe to foreign influcnce his use 
of the side-walls at Trinity College Jibrary; and his scheme for 
combining a lofty internal wall with beauty of external design, 
and a complete system of lighting, must always command ad- 
miration, In the next example of his library work foreign 
influence may be more directly traced, for I feel that the library 
of S. Paul's Cathedral suggests reminiscences of the Ambrosian 
Jibrary at Milan. 
Wren placed the library of his new cathedral in the western 
transept, with an ingenuity of contrivance and a dignity of 
conception peculiarly his own. On the level of what in a Gothic 
church would have been the triforium, he constructed, both on 
the north and south side, a large and lofty room. I t was his 
intention that each of these rooms should be used as a library, 
and that they should be connected by means of the gallery 
which crosses the west end of the nave. Access to them was 
to be obtained from the exterior, without entering the church, 
by a circular staircase in the south-west corner of the façade. 
This plan has not been fully carried out, and the southern 
library only has been fitted up. It is now usually reached by 
means of the staircase leading to the dome. 
These arrangements will be understood from thc ground- 
plan (fig. 129)1. This plan shews very clearly the ]ibrary itself, 
the two circular staircases at the west end, leading up to the 
gallery, the wide geometrical staircase leading down to the 
portico, the corridor into which this staircase opens, and from' 
which a visitor could either ascend by a flight of stairs to the 
gallery crossing the nave, or, turning to his right, either enter 
the library, or pass eastwards towards the dome. 
The library (fig. 130) is a well-lighted room, with an area 
measuring 53 ft. by 32 ft., and of sufficient height to admit of 
the introduction of a gallery under the vault. A massive stone 
pier projects into the room at each corner, so as to break the 
formal regularity of the design in a very pleasing manner. The 
gallery, together with the bookcases, which stand against the 

1 [his plan has been reduced from one on a larger scale kindly sent to me by 
my friend 
Ir F. C. Penrose, architect to the Cathedral. 


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Fig. 130. Sir Christopher Wren's Library at S. Paul's Cathedral. London, 
looking north-east. 



28 3 

walls, both in the gallery and below it, were either designed by 
\Vren himself, or placed there wIth his approval. The Builùing 








.r L, 
II iii 








Fig. 12 9. Ground plan of Library and adjacent parts of S. Paul's Cathedral, London. 

Accounts I contain mdny valuable pieces of information re- 
specting the history of the room anù its fittings. The floor 
"in the south library" was laid down in July, 1708, as was also 

I I have to thank the Dean ami Chapter for leave to >tudy these Accounts, and to 
have a photograph taken uf the lil>rary. 



[ nl.\I'. 

that in the gallery; the windows" in the north and south library," 
words which shew very clearly that the corresponding room on 
the north side was also intended for a library, were painted in 
December, 1708; and the ornamental woodwork was supplied 
in :\Iarch, 17 08 -9. From the entries refcrring to these works 
I will quote the following, as it particularises the most striking 
feature in the room, namely, thc large ornamental brackets which 
appear to support the gallery; 

To Jonathan Maine Carver in the South Library, viL. For carving 
3 2 Trusses or Cantalivers under the Callary, 3 ft. 8 in. long, and 3 ft. 
8 in. deep and 7 in. thick with Leather worke cut through and a Leaf 
in the front and a drop hanging down with fruit and flowers etc. at 
6 1 . I os. each. 

208'. - -- 

The words "leathcr work," used in the above entry, are 
singularly suitable, for the whole composition looks more like 
something molded out of leather or plaster than cut out of 
a solid piece of wood. The vertical portion, applied to thc 
pilasters, consists of a bunch of flowers, hops, and corn, some- 
what in the manner of Grinling Gibbons, who has been often 
nameù as the artist. The above-mentioned pilasters divide the 
wall-space into 33 compartments, each of which is from 3 ft. 
6 in. to 4 ft. wide, and 9 ft. high, exclusive of the plinth and 
cornice, and fitted with six shelves, which are apparently at 
the origina] levels. 
The gallery is approached by a staircase contrived in the 
thickness of the south-west pier. It is 5 ft. wide, and fitted with 
bookcases ranged against the wall in the same manner as those 
below, but they are loftier, and of plainer design. The balustrade, 
a molded cornice of wood, supported on pilasters of the same 
material, which recall those separating the compartments below, 
and the great stone piers, enriched with a broad band of fruit, 
flowers, and other ornaments set in a sunk panel, are striking 
features of this gallery. 
The material used throughout for the fittings is oak, which 
fortunately has never been painted, and Þ-as assumed a mellow 
tone through age which produces a singularly beautiful effect. 
I f we now return to Cambridge, we shall find that the 
influence of \Vren can easily be traced in all the library fittings 



28 5 

put up In the course of the 1 Rth century. The first work of 
this kind undertaken was the pro,-ision of additional fittings to 
the library of Emmanuel College l between 1702 and 1707. The 
tall cases, set up at right angles to the walls in 1679, were moved 
forward, and shelves in continuation of them were placed against 
the side-walls. The same influence is more distinctly seen in 
the library of S. Catharine's Ha1l 2 , which was fitted up, according 
to tradition, at the expense of Thomas Sherlock, D.D., pro- 
bably while Master, an office which he held from 17I4 to 1719. 
The room is 63 ft. 6 in. long by 22 ft. 10 in. wide; and it 
is divided by partitions into a central portion, about 39 ft. 
long, and a narrow room at each end, 12ft. long. Each of 
these latter is lighted by windows in the north and south walls; 
the former has windows in the south wall only. The central 
portion is di,-ided into three compartments by hook cases which 
line the walls, and project from them at right angles; in the two 
smaller rooms the cases only line the walls, the space being too 
narrow for any other treatment. 
\Vhen the building of the new Senate House had set free 
the room called the Regent House, in which the University had 
been in the habit of meeting from very early times, it was fitted 
up, between 1731 and 1734, as part of the University Li bra rys. 
\\'ren's example was followed as far as the nature of the room 
would permit. \\'herever a blank wall could be found, it was 
lined with shelves, and the cases placed at right angles to the 
side-walls were continued over the narrow spaces left between 
their ends and the windows. One of these cases, from the south 
side of the room, is here shewn (fig. r 3 I). The shekes under 
the \\ indows wcre added subsequently. ^ similar arrangement 
\\as adopted for the east room in lï 8 7---ço_ 
At Clare College, at about the same date, the new library 
over the kitchen was fitted up with shelves placed against the 
walls. These fittings are excellent specimens, ornamented with 
fluted Ionic pilasters, an elaborate cornice, and pediments abo,-e 
the doors. It is worth noting, as evidence of the slowncss with 
\\ hich new fashions are accepted, that the antiquary \\ïlliam 

I Arch. Hisl. \'o\. II. p. 710. \,,,1. /II. p. ..6R. 
i ib. \' o\. /II. p. 468. 
.1 if>. \ 01. III. PP' 7." ..7 0 . 



[ CHAP. 

Cole, wntl11g in 1742, calls this library "a very large well- 
proportion'd Room à la moderne, w th ye Books rang'd all round 
it & not in Classes as in most of yC rest of ye Libraries in other 
Colleges I." 

"'') . 



. ,

"llt'III I 
 " , 
, I 
Wr1, , 
I J:C I I I!rniô ,I f!tfi 11'" I' 
I, '__, ' 
f1íì!1i;Jf'j 1tqW!t, 

 A-C I" ' mm
......-..: 11 


. 'II r 

Fig. 131. Bookcase in the north room of the University Library, Cambridge, 
designed by James Essex, 173 1 - 1 734. 

The fashion of which I have been tracing the progress in 
England had been accepted during the same period in France, 
where some beautiful specimens of it may still be seen. I 
presume that the example was set by the wealthy convents, 
most of which had been rebuilt, at least in part, in the then 
fashionable classical style, during the seventeenth centuryv. At 
Rheims a library fitted up by the Benedictines of Saint Remi 
in 1784 now does duty as the chapel of the Hûtel-Dieu. 
Fluted Corinthian columns supporting an elaborate cornice 

1 Arch. His/. Vo\. I. p. 113. 
" See the set of views of French Religious Houses called Le 1I1ollas/Ïcoll Gallica- 
llllJll, -Ito- Pari., 1882. The plates were dra\\n by Dom G"rmain 16-1











........ '- 

.... - 






--; fF 
-- .. 
 IT · 



i I 







)0 , l"

"" ,h 




















, III] 



divide the walls into compartments, in which the books 
are ranged on open shelves. The room is 120 ft. long, by 
31ft. broad, with four windows on each side. \\ïth this may 
be compared the public library at Alcnçon, the fittings of which 
are said to have been brought from the abbey of the Val Dieu 
near l\Iortain at the Revolution. The room is 70 ft. long by 25 ft. 
\\ ide. Against the walls are 26 compartments or presses, alter- 
nately open and closed. Each of these terminates in an ogee 
arch enriched \\ ith scroll') and a central shield_ The whole 
series is surmounted by a cornice divided by console brackets, 
between which are shields, probably intended originally to carry 
the names of the subjects of the books. 
Lastly, I must mention the libraries of Louis X\i. and 
l\Iarie Antoinette at Versailles. The walls are lined with a 
double row of presses, each closed by glass doors. The lower 
row is about four feet high, the upper row about ten feet high. 
The wood-work is painted white, and enriched with wreaths of 
leave') in ormolu. As a general rule the books are hidden from 
\-iew by curtains of pleated silk. 
I mentioned in a previous chapter' that additional space \\ as 
provided for the library in a French monastery by raising the 
roof of an existing building, putting in dormer windows, and 
converting the triangular space so gained into a library by 
placing in it bookcases of a convenient height, and connecting 
them together by a ceiling. I have fortunately discovered 
one such library still in existence at Rheims. I t belonged 
originally to the Jesuits, who had constructed it about 16 7 8 , 
and when the Order was expelled from France in 1764, and 
their House became the workhouse (hópital gàll rat) of the 
town. it was fortunately made use of as the lillgerie, or linen- 
room, without any material change. Even the table has been 
preserved. The view here presented of the interior (fig. 13 2 ) 
may sen'e to give a general idea, not merely of this library, but of 
uthers of the same class. The decoration of the ceiling is coarse 
but effecti\'e. On the coved portion of it, within the shields, are 
written the subjects of the books on the shelves beneath, I 
made a list of these and have printed them on the margin of my 
ground-plan (fig. 133). This plan also shews the arrdngement 
ce alx)\'e, pp. 100, I q. 

(over window) 
SACRA (over window) 
(over window) 
ORATORES Dominus est 
SACRI 1 Reg. c. I) 
(over window) CONTROVERSISTAE 
HISTOFtIA (over winduw) 
(over window) 
0 10 2 
Fig. 133. Ground-plan of the Library of the Jesuits at Rheims. 



28 9 

of the bookcases. They are placed at a distance of five feet 
from the walls, and are returned to meet each window, thus 
forming convenie'1t bays for private study. The space between 
the bookcases and the wall was used as a store-room '. 
The ßibIiothèque Sainte-Geneviève, at Paris, offered originally 
a splendid example of a library arranged in this manner. It 
consisted of two galleries, at right angles to each other, fitted 
up in the same style as the library at Rheims. The longest of 
these galleries was 147 ft. long by 24 ft. wide. The guide- 
books prepared for the use of visitors to Paris in the middle of 
the 18th century dwell with enthusiasm on the convenience and 
beauty of this room. The books were protected by wire-work; 
between each pair of cases was a bust of a Roman emperor or 
an ancient philosopher; at the crossing of the two galleries was 
a dome which seemed to be supported on a palm-tree in plaster- 
\\ ork at each corner, out of the foliage of which peered the heads 
of cherubs; while the convenience of readers was consulted by 
the liberality with which the library was thrown open on three 
days in every week, and furnished with tables, chairs, a ladder to 
reach the upper shelves, and a pair of globes'. This library was 
begun in 1675, and placed, like that at Rheims, directly under 
the roof. The second gallery, which is shorter than the first, was 
added in 1726. It was not disturbed at the Revolution, nor 
under the Empire, though the rest of the abbey-buildings 
became the Lycée Napoléon. After the Rcstoration, when this 
school became the ColIége Henri IV., the presence of the library 
was found to be inconvenient, and in 1850 it was removed to a 
new building close to the Pantheon. The galleries are now used 
a<; a dormitory for the school-boys, but the dome, with some of 
its decorations, still survives. 
Another example of this arrangement, which seems to have 
been peculiarly French, is afforded by the library of Saint 
Germain-des-l'rès, the gradual extension of which I have already 
described 3. The books were contained in oak presses set against 
the walls. Above them was a series of portraits representing 

1 Jaclart, ÚS AnrÙIl11e., Bibliothhfllrs de Rtims, 8vo. Rcims, 18 9 1 , p. q. 
l Franklin, A,lr. Bibl. de Pan's, \'01. I. PI'. 71-<)9. lIe givcs a vicw of the 
interior of the library from a p,int ,!:lice I 1773. 
1 See ahovc. p. I I... 

(". I. 


29 0 



the most important personages in the Order of S. Benedict. 
This library was open to the public daily from 9 to I I a.m. and 
from 3 to 5 p.m. 1 
I will conclude this chapter with a few words on the library 
of the most famous of all European monasteries, namely Monte 
Cassino, the foundation of which was undo).1btedly laid by 
S. Benedict himseJf. I confess that I had hoped to find there a 
library which might either by its position or its fittings recall the 
early days of monasticism; but unfortunateJy the piety of the 
Benedictine Order has induced them to rebuild their parent 
house in a classical sty\c, and to obliterate nearly every trace of 
the primitive building. The library, to which I was obligingly 
conducted by the Prior, is 60 ft. long by 30 f1. broad, with two 
large windows at the end opposite to the door. The side-walls 
are lined with bookcases divided by columns into four compart- 
ments on each side, after the fashion of Cardinal Mazarin's 
library. These columns support a heavy cornice with hand- 
some ornaments. A band of woodwork divides the cases into 
an upper and lower range, but there is no trace of a desk. I 
could not learn the elate at which these fittings had been con- 
structed, but from their style I should assign them to the middle 
of the seventeenth cent ury 2. 

I Fran1.lin, ut supra, I. PI" 'OJ- I.
, I \i_it"'.! :\I..nk Ca"in.. I.
 April. 'X'JX, 



. X the previous chapters I have sketched the 
history of library-fittings from the earliest 
times to the end of the eighteenth century. 
The libraries to which these fittings belonged 
were, for the most part, public, or as good as 
public. But, as in histury we have recognised 
the important fact that a record of battles and sieges and 
enactments in Parliament gi,oes an imperfect conception of 
the life of a people, so I should fecI that this archeological 
subject had been insufficiently treated if I made no attempt 
to shew how private scholars disposed their books, or with 
what appliances they useù them. For instance, in what sort of 
chair was the author of the Philobiblolz sitting when he wrote 
the last words of his treatise, 24 January, 1345, and how was 
his study in his palace at Aucklanù furnished? Further, how 
were private students bestowed in the fifteenth century, when 
a love of letters had become general? Lastly, how were libraries 
fitted up for private use in the succeeding century, when the 
great people of the earth, like the weahhy Romans of imperial 
19- 2 

29 2 



times, added the pursuit of literature to their other fashions, 
and considered a library to be indispensab]e in their ]uxurious 
In the hope of obtaining re]iable information on these in- 
teresting questions, I have for some years past let no opportunity 
slip of examining illuminated manuscripts. I have gone through 
a large number in the British l\Iuseum, where research is aided 
by an excellent list of the subjects illustrated; in the Bibliothèqu{' 
Natiollale, Paris; and in the Bibliothèque Ro)'ale, Brussels, where 
the manuscripts are for the most part those which once belonged 
to the Dukes of Burgundy. I have been somewhat disappointed 
in this search, for, with the single exception of the illustration 
from Boethius (fig. 63), I have not found any library, properly 
so called. This is no doubt strange, having regard to the great 
variety of scenes depicted. It must be remembered, however, 
that these are used for the most part to illustrate some action 
that is going forward, for which a library would be a singularly 
inappropriate background. Single figures, on the other hand, 
are frequentJy shewn with their books about them, either reading 
or writing. Such illustrations most frequently occur in Books of 
Hours, in representations of the Evangelists; or in portraits of 
S. Jerome, who is painted as a scholar at his desk surrounded 
by piles of books and papers; and I think we may safely take 
these as representations of ordinary scholars, because, by the 
beginning of the fifteenth century, when most of the pictures to 
which I refer were drawn, it had become the custom to surround 
even the most sacred personages with the attributes of common 
In the twelfth century, when books were few, they were kept 
in chests, and the owners seem to have used the edge as a desk 
to lean their book on. My illustration (fig. 134) shews Simon, 
Abbat of S. Albans 1167-1183, seated in front of his book- 
chese. The chest is set on a frame, so as to raise it to a 
convenient height; and the Abbat is seated on one of those 
folding wooden chairs which are not uncommon at the present 
day. Simon was a great collector of books: "their number," 

1 M
S. Mus. Brit., I\ISS. Cotton, Claudius E. 4, part I, fol. 1'24. I have to thank 
my friend, l\Ir Hubert Hall, of the Public Record Off.ce, for drmlÏng my attention to 
this illustration. 




writes his chronicler, .. it would take too long to name; but those 
who desire to see them can find them in the painted aumbry in 
the church, placed as he speci- 
ally directed against the tomb 
of l{oger the hermitl." 
Chests, as we have seen 
above at the Vatican library, 
were used for the permanent 
storage of books in the fif- 
teenth century; and a book- 
chest frequently formed part 
of the travelling luggage of a 
hing. For example, when 
Charles V. of France died, 
16 September, 1380, at the 
('hâtcaude Beauté-sur-Marne, 
thirty-one volumes were found 
in his chamber "in a chest 
resting on two supports, which 
chest is by the window, near 
the fireplace, and it has a 
double cover, and in one of the divisions of the said chest 
were the volumes that follow." His son, Charles VI., kept 
the thirteen volumes which he carried about with him in a 
carved chest, within which was an inlaid box (escrill marqlletL) 
to contain the more precious books 2 . 
The earliest information about the furniture of a medieval 
private library that I have as yet discovered is contained in 
a fragment of an account-book recording the cost of fitting 
up a tower in the Louvre in 1367 and 1368, to contain the 
books belonging to Charles V. of France. Certain pieces of 

.. ' 

, : 'u.. t'
, I 
I II . ..

. \ 

'\ I 

... , 


. - I 

. Pi 





Fig. 134. Simon, Abbat of S. Albans 
(1167-1183). seated at his book-chest. 
From IIISS. Cotton. 

1 Gcsta AMatltlll, ed. Rolls series, I. p. 18
. I owe this reference and ils transla- 
tion to thc Rev"reml F. A. Ga
quct, 1IIedÙ-l/alllJollasIÙ LibrarÙ!s, p. 89, in JJo
Rt'Viro., 181)1. Vol. X, I\o. 2. 
J Henri lIavard, Diet. de l'A1Iletlb!Cllltlll, s. v. Lihrairic. The fir>t chest is 
describ"d in the folluwing \\ords: .. Livres e
tans "n la granI chamhrc dudit Seigneur, 
cn ung escrin a,,,iz sur deux crampon
, le<jucl cst à la !enc"tre emprt:s la chcrninée de 
ladite charnbre, et e
t a deux couvesclcs, en rune d"s parties dequcl coffre e
toient les 
partic" qui 
'en"uiv"nt." S"" a\"0 J. LaLarte: Im'tlllflÙc dlt il/obilier de Charles V. 

to. Paris, 18i9, 1" 3.




woodwork in the older library in the palace on the Isle de la 
Cité are to be taken down and altered, and set up in the new 
room. Two carpenters are paid (14 March, 1367) for" having 
taken to pieces all the cases (bancs) and two wheels (roes), which 
were in the king's library in the palace, and transported them 
to the Louvre with the desks (lettrins), and the aforesaid wheels, 
each made smaller by a foot all round; and for having put all 
together again, and hung up the desks (lätrÙls) in the two 
upper stages of the tower that looks toward the Falconry, to 
put the king's books in; and for having panelled the first of those 
two stories all round on the inside with wood from 'Illande,' 
at a total cost of fifty francs of gold. Xext, because the seats 
were too old, they were remade of new timber which the afore- 
said carpenters brought. Also [they were paid] for two strong 
doors for the said two stories 7 ft. high, 3 ft. broad, and 3 fingers 
thick." In the following year (4 May, 1368), a wire-worker 
(cagetier) is paid" for having made trellises of wire in front of 
two casements and two windows.. .to keep out birds and other 
beasts (oyscaux et autres bcstes), by reason of, and protection for, 
the books that shall be placed there." The ceiling is said to 
have been panelled in cypress wood ornamented with carvings 1 . 
The "tower that looks toward the Falconry" mentioned in 
the above description has been identified with the north-west 
tower of the old Louvre. The rooms fitted up as a library 
were circular, and about 14 feet in diameter
The above description of a library will be best explained 
by an illumination (fig. 135) contained in Boccacio's Li'i1re 
des cas des 1Jlalheureux 1lobles h01Jl1Jles ä fem1Jles, written and 

1 Franklin, Allc. Bibl. de Paris, Vol. II. p. I 12. A copy of this account is in the 
Bibliothèque de r Arsmal, No. 6362. This I have coHated with 1\1. Franklin's text. 
The most important passage is the following: A Jacques du Parvis et Jean Grosbois, 
huchiers, pour leur peine d'avoir dessemblé tous les bancs et deux roes qui <.stoient 
en la librairie du Roy au palais, et iceux faict venir audit Louvre, avec les lettrins et 
icelles roes estrécies chacune d'un pied tout autour; et tout rassemblé et pendu les 
lettrins es deux derraines estages de la tour, devcrs la Fauconnerie, pour mettre les 
livres du Roy; et lambroissié de bort d'Illande Ie premier d'iceux deux estages tout 
autour par dedans, au pris de L. francs d'or, par march'; faict à eux par ledit maistre 
Jacques, XIV. jour de mars 136j. 
2 A. Berty, ToþograþhÙ! IIistorique du viellx Paris, 
to. Paris, 1866, Vol. I. 
pp. Q3- 1 4 6 . lIe considers that the "bort d'Illande" \\as Dutch oak, 
So pieces of 
\\hich had b"cn given to the king by the of!ìcer called Sénéchal of -llainault. 




illuminatcd in Flanders for King- Henry the Scventh, and now 
in the British i\luseum l . Two gentlemcn are studying at a 
revolving desk, which can bc raised or lowered by a central 
screw. This is evident]y thc "wheel" of the French King's 




--- -- 


j -

 1 11 1;': 
\' I 
f Iii _:: \ I ,I 








Fig. '35. Two men in a library. 

I- rom a 1\15. of L
s ells d s "løl},
Jl"""X "ohl
s AClllllteS etftl1l111eS in lhe llriti
h l\lu

library. Behind arc thcir books, either resting on a dcsk 
hung against the wall, \\ hich is panclled, or lying on a shelf 
beneath the desk. This piece of furniture would be properly 
dcscribed either as a ballt.: or a kttrÙz. I t should be noted that 
carc has been takcn to keep the wheel stcady by supporting it 

I UO. Brit. J.. E. \. 

29 6 



on a solid base, beneath which are two strong cross-pieces of 
timber, which also serve as a foot-rest for the readers. The 
books on the desk set against the wall are richly bound, with 
bosses of metal. Chaining was evidently not thought of, indeed 
I doubt if it was ever used in a private library. The window 
is glazed throughout. In other examples which I shall figure 
below we shall find a wire trellis used instead of glass for part 
at least of the window. 
My next illustration (fig. 136), also Flemish, is of the same 
date, from a copy of the .171iroir historial 1 . I t represents a 
Carmelite monk, probably the author of the book, writing in his 
study. Behind him are three desks, one above the other, hung 
against the wall along two sides of the room, with books bound 
and ornamented as in the former picture, resting upon them, 
and beneath the lowest is a flat shelf or bench on which a 
book rests upon its side. The desk he is using is not un- 
common in these illustrations. I t is fixed on a solid base, 
which is further strengthened, as in the example of the wheel- 
desk, by massive planks, to guard against the slightest vibration; 
and it can be turned aside by means of a limb-apparently of 
iron-which is first vertical, then horizontal, then vertical again. 
The Carmelite holds in his left hand an instrument for keeping 
the page perfectly flat. This instrument has usually a sharp 
point with which any roughness on the page can be readily 
removed. The volume he is using is kept open by two strings, 
to each of which a weight is attached. Behind the desk, covered 
with a cloth, is a chest secured by two locks. On this stands 
an object which appears to be a large magnifying glass. 
Sometimes the desk was carried round three sides of the 
room, with no curtain to keep of{ dust, and with no shelf be- 
neath it. The illustration (fig. 137) is from a French translation 
of Valerius Maximus (1430-75) in the Hadeian Collection". 
I now pass to a series of pictures which illustrate the daily 
life of a scholar or a writer who had few books, but who could 
]ive in a certain ease-allowing himself a chair and a desk. 
Of these desks there is an infinite variety, dictated, I imagine, 

1 l\1SS.1\Ius. Brit. q E. I. This miniature has been reproduCt:d Ly Father Ga,quet 
in the paper quoted above. 
ISS. l\lus. Brit" 1\ISS. lIar\. 43 ï 5, f. 15 I b. 

/ ""'" 

 If I I j 
I 7' 


'\..-- .- 


Fig. 136. A Carmelite in his study. 

I"r..m a ,,
. ..f I.' J/llvÌ1 Ili..tvllal in the J:rithh '11I-CUlII. 




by the fashion pre\-alent in particular places at particular times. 
I have tried to arrange them in groups. 














Fig. ':fl. Three musicians in a library. 
From a 1\IS. of a French translation of Valerius .J/axiIllUs, in the Britbh !\Iu

In the first place the chair is usually a rather elaborate piece 
of furniture, with arms, a straight back, and, very frequently, a 
canopy. A cushion to sit upon is sometimes permitted, but, as 
a general rule, these chairs are destitute of stuffing, tapestry, 
or other device to conceal the material of which they are 
made. Occasionally the canopy is richly carved or painted in 
a pattern. 
The commonest form of desk is a modification of the Iectern- 
system. It consists of a double lectern, beneath which is a row 
of cupboards, or rather a shelf protected by several doors, one 
of which is always at the end of the piece of furniture. The 
triangular space under the lectern is also used for books. This 
device is specially commended by Richard de Bury in the 
Philobiblow. .. :\Ioses," says he, "the gentlest of men, teaches us 
tu make bookcases most neatly, wherein they may be protected 
from any injury: Take, he says, this book of the law, alld pl/t it 
ill thL' side of the ark of tlte COVCIlflllt of the Lord your God." .l\Iy 
illustration (fig. 138) is taken from an edition of the Ship of 
Fools, printed at BasIc by Nicolas Lamparter in 15 0 7. In this 
example the desk with its cupboards stands on a plinth, and 

1 The FhiltJbiblOJI of Richard d,: Bury: cd. E. C. Thuma" LUllllun, 18


29 8 



this again on a broad step. Both are probably introduced to 
ensure steadiness. 

Fig. 138. A bibliomaniac at his desk. 

I'rom the S1liþ 0.1 Fools. 

The seated figure represents a bibliomaniac who treats his 
books as !11tre curiosities from which he derives no menta] 
improvement. He has put on his spectacles and wielded his 
feather-brush, in order to dust the leaves of a folio with greater 
care. Unùer the cut arc the following explanatory lines: 




Qui libros tyriis vestit honoribus 
Et blattas abijt puluerulentulas 
Nee discens animum litterulis eolit: 

Iercatur nimia stultieiam stipe. 

append a rough translation: 
Who clothes his books in Tyrian dyes, 
Then brushes off the dust and flies, 
N' or reads one line to make him \\ ise, 
Spends lavish gold and-FoLLY buys. 
Such a desk as this was used in the succeeding century in at 
least two libraries belonging to ladies of high rank. The first 
belonged to Margaret of Austria, daughter of Maximilian, 
Emperor of Germany. She had been the wife of Philibert I I., 
Duke of Savor, and after his death, IO September, 1504, her 
father made her regent of the Xetherlands. She died at l\Ialines 
30 X ovember, 1530, at the age of fifty. She seems to have been 
a liberal patroness of literature and the arts, and the beautiful 
church that she built at Drou in memory uf her husband bears 
\, itncss to her architectural taste and skill. 
The inventory, out of which I hope to reconstruct her library, 
is dated 20 April, 15241. It is headed: II Library," and begins 
\\ ith the following entry: .. The first desk (pollrpitn) begins 
over the door, and goes all round up to the fireplace." On this 
desk or shelf arc enumerated fifty-two volumes, all bound in 
velvet with gilt bosses. This entry is succeeded by: II here 
follow the Books of Hours, being on a desk high up in con- 
tinuation of the preceding one between the \\ indows and the 
fireplace." This desk contains twenty-six volumes bound in 
vch'ct, red satin, or cloth of gold, with gilt bosses. 
\\'c come next to" the first desk below (lf1l11lbllS) beginning 
near the door at the first seat." This desk carries nine books, 
presumably on the sloping portion, because we presently come 
to a paragraph headed "here follow the books covered with 
leather &c., which are underneath the desks beginning near the 
door." The author of the inventory then returns to the first 
desk, and enumerates cleven volumes. He next goes rounà to 
.. the other side of the said desk," and enumerates thirteen 

1 Printed ìnJahrlmch d
r J.:'tllsthistQrisch
1l Sa1/",t1ull.l;.1l dcs .I/l,rhiJ,-hst<!1l J..ízÙLI- 
hm.s,s, Band 111. ..tu. \\ïcn, 1885. 

3 00 



vo]umes. In this \\'ay six desks are gone through. All have 
books bound in b]ack, blue, crimson, or violet, veh'et laid out 
upon them, while those in plainer dress are consigncd to th{' 
shelves beneath. It should be added that the fourth desk is 
d{'scribed as being near the fireplace (l'1Jlpres ill clie1Jl)'JlÙ). 
The desks having been gone through, we come to "the books 
which are within the iron trellis beginning near the door." This 
picce of furniture contained volumes, 
The number of books accommodated in the whole rOom was 
as follows: 

First shelf 52 
Second shelf 26 7 8 
First desk (sloping portion) 9 
Under desk: one side I I 
" " other side 13 24 33 
Second desk - 
10 21 4 2 
Third " " 26 
10 23 49 
Fourth ,. " 15 
14 32 47 
Fifth " " 19 
10 21 4 0 
Si'\.th " " 20 
10 II) 39 25 0 
Within the trellis-work 27 

\Ve wi\1 next try to form some idea of the way in which this 
library was arranged; and first of the two shelves which begin 
" over the door." A shelf in this position is shewn in Carpaccio's 
well-known picture of S. Jerome in his study. It is set desk- 
wise against the wall supported on iron brackets. As a large 
proportion of the fifty-two, volumes on our shelf are described as 
of large size (grallt), we sha\1 be justified in assuming that each 
was 10 in. broad. The total therefore would occupy 5 20 in. or 
say 43 ft. at least, not allowing for intervals between them. This 



3 01 

shelf extended from the door round the room to the fireplace, 
by which I suppose we are to understand that it began on the 
wall which contained the door, and was carried round the corner 
of the room up to the fireplace. 
The second shelf, at the same height as the preceding, 
contained only twenty-six ,'olumes, fifteen of which are de- 
scribed as small (petit). A space of thirteen feet or even less 
will therefore be amply sufficient to contain them. 
The six desks which stood on the floor were, I imagine, 
constructed in some such way as that which I have figured 
abO\'e from the Ship of Fools. It is evident that books in velvet 
bindings and adorned with gilt bosses would be set out where 
they could be seen, and for such a purpose what could be better 
than a lectern? The table I have given above shews that there 
were I IO volumes thus disposed, or an average of say 18 to each 
desk. A careful analysis of the inventory, where the size of 
each book is always set down, shews me that there were very 
few small books in this part of the library, but that they were 
divided between large (grant) and medium size (moim), If we 
allow 8 in. for each book, we get an average of 144 in. = 12 ft. 
for each desk, that is, as the desk was double, the piece of 
furniture was 6 ft. long. Under the sloping portion it had a 
shelf on each side. Four such desks stood between the door 
and the fireplace, and two between the fireplace and the window, 
which seems to have been opposite the door. 
\Ve are not toM where the" trellis of iron" was. I suppose 
the<;e words mean some shelves set against the waIl with iron- 
\\ ork in front of them. As the enumeration of the books begins 
"near the door" the piece of furniture may be placed on the 
side of the door opposite to the former desks, 
The im'entory further shews that this library did duty as a 
museum. It was in fact filled with rare and beautiful objects, 
and must ha"e presented a singularly rich appearance. In the 
middle of the hood o'"er the fireplace \\as a stag's head and 
horns bearing a crucifix. There was a bust of the Duke of 
Savoy, in \\ hite marble, forming a pendant to one of the Duchess 
l\largarct herself, and in the same material a statuette of a boy 
extracting a thorn fr
m his foot, probably a copy of the antique 
in the Ducal Gallery at Florence. There were also twenty oil 





paintings in the room, some of which were hung round the hood 
of the fireplace. Besides these works of art there were several 
pieces of furniture, as, for instance, a large press containing a 
compJcte set of armour, a sideboard" à la mode d'Italie," given 
as a present by the viceroy of Naples; a square table of inlaid 
work; a smalIer table bearing the arms of Burgundy and Spain; 
three mirrors; a number of objects in rock-crystal; and lastly 
some feather dresses from Indi,l (S. America ?), presented by 
the Emperor. 
It is provoking that the inventory, minute as it is, should 
desert us at the most important point, and give insufficient data 
for estimating the size of the room. I conjecture that it was 
about 46 ft. long from the folIowing considerations, In the first 
place, I alIow 2 ft. for the width of each desk. Of these there 
were four between the door and the fireplace = 8 ft. Secondly, 
I alIow 3 ft. each for the five intervals = 15ft., or a total of 23 ft. 
from the door to the fireplace. For the fireplace itself I alIow 
IO ft. Between the fireplace and the walI containing the window 
or windows, there were two desks and three intervals = 13 ft. 
I pointed out above that 43 ft. at least might be alIowed for the 
shelf extending from the door to the fireplace. Of this I have 
absorbed 23 ft., leaving 20 ft. for the distance from the door to 
the corner of the room. As we are not told anything about the 
position of the door my estimate of the size of the room cannot 
be carried further. 
A similar arrangement obtained in the ]ibrary of Anne de 
France, daughter of Louis XI., or as she is usualIy calIed Anne 
de Beaujeu I. Her catalogue made 19 Septembt:r, 1523, records 
314 titles, which I need hardly say represent a far larger number of 
books. They were arranged like those of th.e Duchess Margaret, 
on eleven desks (poulpitres). These were set round a room, with 
the exception of two which were placed in the middle of it. It 
is interesting to note respecting one of these, that it had a 
cupboard at the end, for the contents are entered as folIows: 
au bout dudit þoulpitre sont melos /es livres qui s'msuivent, and 
sixteen volumes are enumerated. There was also a shelf set 
against the walI, described as Ie þlus ltault þoltlþitre Ie long de 
la dite 11121raille, which contained fifty-five volumes. This desk 
1 Lerou de Lincey, lIrlalzges de la Sodlt'! des Bibliophiles, 1850, p. '23 1 . 



3 0 3 

wa<; probably hig-h up, like the one in the library of the Duchess 
:\Iargaret. The books upon it are noted as being- all covered 
with red velvet, and ornamented with clasps, bosses, and corner- 




" . 



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Fig. r39. S. John writing his Gospel. 

From a MS, ROlin in the Fitzwil/iam Museum, Cambridge. 

pieces of metal. There were also in this library an astrolabe, 
and a sphere with the signs of the Zodiac. 
A desk, similar in general character to that figured in the 

3 0 4 



Ship of Fools, but of a curiously modern type, occurs in an 
HOl/rs in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, executed about 
1445 for Isabel, Duchess of Brittany. The picture (fig. 139) 
represents S. John writing his Gospel. 
A modification of this form of desk was common in Italy. 
It is often used by painters of the fifteenth century in pictures of 
the Annunciation, where it does duty as a prie-dieu. The ex- 
ample I have selected (fig. 140) is from a paintin
 by Benedetto 
Bonfigli, in the church of S. Peter at Perugia. It represents 
S. Jerome writing. A small circular revolving desk, at the 
left-hand corner of the larger desk, ho]ds the work he is 
copying or referring to. On the desk near the inkstand lies 
the pointed St),l1lS mentioned above. Below the cupboard con- 
taining books is a drawer. Projecting from the top of the 
revolving desk, there is a vertical rod of iron with a long 
horizontal arm. This is no doubt intended to carry a lantern. 
I shall shortly give an example of one in such a position. 
I now return to the wheel-desk, of which I have already 
figured one specimen (fig. 135). A piece of furniture consisting 

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Fig. 141. Circular book-desk. 
From a 1\15. of Fais ct Gcstcs till R{1i All'xatzdrl', in the Briti..h f\lu

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3 0 5 

of one or more tables which could be raised or depressed by 
means of a central screw, was very generally used by scholars 
in the :\Iiddle Ages. I shall present a few of the most common 
My first specimen is from a manuscript in the British 
:\luseum, written aná illuminated in England in the middle 
of the fifteenth century. It is called Fais ct Gestcs d/t Roi 
A Ie ml/dre I. The picture (fig. 141) represents Alexander as a 




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Fig. 142. S. Luke writing his Gospel. 

From the Dunoi.. Ilor", a :MS. in the po,s
..sion of H. V. Thompo;oon, E

I ;\IS--. ;\111" Brit. r;. F. , r. 

c. L. 


3 06 



little child, standing in front of his tutor, who is seated in one 
of the chairs I described above. On the learned man's right 
is his book-desk. A circular table with a rim round it to 
prevent the books falling off, is supported on a central pedestal, 
which contains the screw. The top of the said screw is con- 
cealed by the little Gothic turret in the centre of the table. 
This turret also supports the book which the reader has in use. 
1\1y next example is from a miniature in a volume of Hours 
known as the Dunois Horæ, also written in the middle of the 
fifteenth century. It has been slightly enlarged in order to 
bring out the details more clearly. The subject is S. Luke 
writing his Gospel, but the background represents a scholar's 
room. There is a bookcase of a very modern type, a table 
with two folio volumes lying upon it, and in the centre a 
hexagonal book-desk, with a little Gothic turret as in the last 
example. Round the screw under the table are four cyJindrical 


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Fig. '43. A lady seated in her chair reading. 
From a MS. wriuen in France, early in the fifteenth centur}". 



3 0 7 

supports, the use of which I fail to understand, but they occur 
frequently on desks of this type. The "'hole piece of furniture 
rests on a hea,'y cylindrical base, and that again on a square 
I now pass to a variety of the screw-desk, which has a small 
book-rest above the table. The whole structure rests upon a 
prolongation of the solid platform on which the reader's chair 
is placed, so that it is really exactly in front of the reader. 1\Iy 
illustration (fi
. 143) is from" The booke of the noble ladyes in 
frensh," a work by Boccacio; it was written in France early in 
the fifteenth century'. 

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Fig. '44. Screw-desk, 
horn a fiftcemh c ntur) MS, in the 
HiLliothèque dt: ,. \...-ena'. Pari

Fig. '45' Hexagonal desk, with central spike. 
probably for a candle. 
From a French MS. of Le .I1i..oi.. Hislorinl. 

These double desks are exceedingly common, and I might 
fill a large number of pages with figures and descriptions of the 
variety which the ingenuity of the cabinet-makers of the 
fifteenth century managed to impart to combinations of a scrcw 

, :\IS. 
Ius. Brit. '20 C. \", 





and two or more tables. I will content myself with one more 
example (fig. 144) which shews the screw exceedingly well, and 
the two tables above it. The uppermost of these serves as a 
]edge to rest the books on, as does also the hexagonal block 
above it which conceals the top of the screw'. 
\Ve meet occasionally with a solid desk, by which I mean 
one the level of which cannot be altered. In the example here 
given (fig. 145) from a French l\IS. of Le lIfiroir Historial, there 
is a central spike which I suspect to have been intended to carry 
a candle 2 . 
In some examp]es of these book-desks the pedestal is 
utilized as a book-cupboard (fig. 146). The picture which I have 
selected as shewing a desk of this peculiarity is singularly 
beautiful, and finished in the highest style of art available at the 
end of the fifteenth century in France. It forms half of the 
frontispiece to a fine manuscript of Boccacio's Lit're des cas dcs 
lIlalltellrcllx llobles ILOlIllllCS et fi'1/l1Jlcs". The central figure is 
apparently lecturing on that moving theme, for in front of him, 
in the other half of the picture, is a crowd of men exhibiting 
their interest by the violence of their gestures. On his left is 
the desk I mentioned; it stands on an unusually firm base, and 
one side of the vertical portion is pierced by an arch, so as to 
make the central cavity available for putting books in. From 
the centre of the table rises a tall spike, apparently of iron, to 
which is attached a horizontal arm, bearing a lighted lantern. 
On the table, in addition to three books, is an inkstand and 
pen-case. In front of the lecturer is a carved chest, probably 
one of those book-coffers which I have already mentioned. The 
chair and canopy are richly can'ed, and the back of the seat is 
partially covered by a piece of tapestry. Further, the lecturer is 
allowed the unusual luxury of a cushion. 
I will next deal with the appliances for reading and writing 
directly connected with the chairs in which scholars sat, and I 
will begin with the desk. 
1 Paris, llibliothèque de I'Arsenal, 
IS. 519,
, fo\. 31 I. Boccacio: Cas dt's 1IIal- 
hell1-eux 1tobles IlOmmts e/ fi,mmes. 
2 Paris,llibl. Kat., !\ISS. Français, :;0, Le lJ/iroÙ Historial, by \ïncent de Beauvais. 
fo\. 3..0. Probably written in cent. X\'. 
3 l\ISS. Mus. Brit. Add. 3:;321. MSS. Waddesdon, Ko. 12. Bequeathed b} 
Baron Ferdinand Rothschild. 

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Fig. 146. A lecturer addressing an audience. 

I'rom a 
IS. of I i;:r, ,ies cas d,s malhclII,IIX /lobles hOllllllC_' t! j.1II111'S, \Hillen in 
France at elll\ of fifteenth century. 
















Fig. 148. The author of The CllYOllicles of Ht/illault in his study (144 6 1. 


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Fig. 150. A writer with his desk and table. 
From a 
IS. of L.: Lhn des P/oþrit'tés des Choses in the Britioh l\Iuseum. 




The simplest form of desk is a plain board, set at a suitable 
angle by means of a chain or cord extending from one of its 
corners to the back of the chair, while the opposite corner rests 
against a peg driven into the arm of the chair. This arrange- 
ment, variously modified. occurs very frequently; sometimes 
there are t\\O pegs and two chains, but what I may term the 





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Fig. 147. S. Mark writing his Gospel. 
From a 1.15. HOll'S written in France in the fifteenth century. 

normal form is she\\n in my illustration (fig. 147)1. It is difficult 
to understand how the desk was kept steady. 
The author whose study I shall figure next (fig. 148) is 
engaged in writing the Chronicles of lIainault". His desk rests 
securely on two irons fastened to the arms uf his chair. On his 
I :\fSS. BOOI. Lib. Oxr., l\ISS. Rawl. Liturg. e. 2,f, fol. 17 6 . 
2 :\ISS. Bibliothèque Royale de ßru>.cllcs, 
u. 92,f2. ChJOII;,/IIt'S tk HaiJlalll, 
PI. I. fol. 2, 1 HI). 

3 10 



right is a plain lectern with an open volume on each side of it, 
and behind are two or more shelves set against the wall with 
books lying on their sides. On his left is a chest, presumably 
a book-chest, with books lying on its closed lid. One of these 
is open. He has prudently placed his chair near the window 
in such a position that the light falls upon his work from the 
left. It should be noted that the upper part of the window only 
is glazed, the lower part being closed by shutters. \Vhen these 
are thrown back, the lights are seen to be filled to half their 
height with a trellis, such as was ordered for the French king's 
My third example of a chair fitted with a desk (fig. 149) is 
taken from Les 

Iiraclcs de Notre Dame l , a manuscript which 
belonged to Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, and was 
written for him at the Hague in 1456. The illustration represents 
S. Jerome seated in his study. From arm to arm of the chair 
extends a desk of a very firm and solid construction. The ends 
of this desk apparently drop into the heads of the small columns 
with which the arms of the chair terminate. The saint has in 
his left hand a pointed sf.J'/us, and in his right a pen, which he is 
holding up to the light. On the desk beside the manuscript 
lies an ink-horn. To the right of the saint's chair is a hexagonal 
table with a high ledge round it. There is no evidence that 
this table has a screw; but the small subsidiary desk above it 
seems to be provided with one. It will be observed that the 
support of this desk is not directly over that of the table beneath 
it. The desk is provided with two slits-an ingenious contrivance 
for dealing with a roll. On the table, besides an open book, are 
a pair of spectacles, four pens, a small box which may contain 
French chalk for pouncing, and what looks like a piece of sponge. 
I now figure two different sets of library appliances. The 
first (fig. 150) is from d manuscript of the Livre des Propri/t/s 
des CllOses, in the British l\lusfum, written in the fifteenth 
century2. The writer is seated in one of those low chairs which 

1 1\ISS. Bibl. Nat. Paris, l1S5. Fran. 9198. See filiracles de ATos/re Dallle, 
by J. l\lielot, H.oxburghe Club, 1885; with introdu-:tion by G. F. Warner, M.A. 

 l\ISS. Cotton, Augustus, VI. fol. 213 b. There is a beautiful example of a table 
and desk on this plan in a !\IS. of La Cit'! des Dames, from the old Royal Library of 
France in the Bibl. Nat., MSS. Fran. 1177. 






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From I , ,IIi arlt de '\
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Fig. 149. S. Jerome in his study. 



3 11 

occur very frequently in miniatures, and look as if they were cut 
out of a single block of wood. His desk, \\ hich is quite 
independent of thc chair, is of the simplest design, consisting 
of a picce of wood supportcd at an angle on t\\'o carved uprights. 
On his left stands a very elegant piece of furniture, a table with 
.t desk at a considerable hcight above it-so high, in fact, that it 
could only be uscd standing. This upper desk is fitted with a 
little duor as though it served as a receptaclc for sm.tIl objects. 

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Fig. '5'. S. Luke writing his Gospel. 

ISS. Douce, !Judl. Lib. Oxf., !\u, 3ÔI, 

3 12 



The second example (fig. 151) shews S. Luke SIttl11g on a 
bench writing at a table!. The top, which is very massive, rests 
on four legs, morticed into a frame. In front of this table is a 
desk of peculiar form; the lower part resembles a reversed cune, 
and the upper part a second cone of smaller diameter, so as to 
leave space enough betwcen the two bases for a ledge to rest 
books on. Round the base of the desk three quaint ]ions do 
duty as feet. These ]ions occur again beneath the frame of 
the picture, and may be connected with a former possessor of 
the manuscript. The pedestal of the desk is a twisted column, 
which, like the base, and indeed the whole structure, looks as 
though it were made of brass. 
I now pass to a totally different way of fitting up a study, 
which seems to have been common in Italy, to judge by the 
number of paintings in which it occurs. It consists of a massive 
desk of woud, one part of which is set at right angles to the 
other, and is connected in various ways with shelves, drawers, 

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Fig. 15'. S. Augustine at his desk. 
From a painting by Fra Filippo Lippi at Florence. 

] I\ISS. Bodl. Lib. Oxf., I\ISS, Douce, 1\0. 381, fol. 159, A 
econrl example 
occurs in the same I\IS., Col. 160. 




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Fig. 154. A writer at work. 





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Frum a I"n,nch translatiun of Yalerius 
Ia"imus, \\ritten and illuminated in Flanders 
in 1+79, for King Edward 1\'. 



3 1 3 

pigeon-holes, and other contrivances for holding books and 
papers. In the example I here figure (fig. 1;2), from a painting 
by Fra Filippo Lippi (1412-1469) representing S. Augustine's 
vision of the Trinity, there are two sma!] recesses abuve the desk 
on the saint's right, both containing books, and behind the 
shorter portion of the desk, three shelves also with books on 
them. Attached to the end of the desk is a sma!] tray, probably 
to contain pens. 
A similar desk occurs in the beautiful picture by Catena in 
the National Ga!]ery', representing S. Jerome reading, of which 
I give a reproduction on a reduced scale (fig. 153). This picture 
also contains an exce!]ent example of a cupboard in the 
thickness of the wa!], a contrivance for taking care of books 
as common in the :\Iiddle Ages as it had been in Roman times s . 
Cupboards in the thickness of the wa!] are also to be seen in 
the frontispiece (fig. 154) to a copy of a French translation of 
Valerius :\Iaximus 3 , written in Flanders in 1419 fur King 
Edward I V. The writer-probably intended for the author 
or the translator of the book-is seated at a desk, consisting of a 
plank set at an angle and capable of being turned aside by 
means of a central bracket, like that used by the Carmelite 
(fig. 136). Obserye the two weig-hts hanging over the edge of 
the desk and the ends of the two horns, intended to hold ink, 
projecting through it. The window, as in the picture represent- 
ing the author of the Chronicles of Hainault at work, is glazed 
in the upper part only, while in the lower are two framed 
trellises of \\ ire-work. Behind the writer are two cupboards in 
the thickness of the wa!]. One of these is open, and shews 
books lying on their sides, upon which are some pumegranates. 
I cannot suggest any reason for the introduction of these fruits, 
except that from their colour they make a pleasing variety; but 
I ought to mention that they occur very frequently in miniatures 
representing a writer at \\ork. On the other side of the window 
is a small hanging cupboard. Here again a fruit is introduced 
on the lowest shelf. Round the room is a settle, raised above 

, I have to thank my fnend Sidney Coh in, :\1..\., fur ,lra\\ ing my attention to 
J See abovc, pp. 3ï, 38. 
. :\111.>. lJrit. ,/j E. IV. 

3 1 4 



the floor on blocks at intervals. The seat is probably a chest, 
as in the settles described above in the Vatican Library. 
The last picture (fig. 155) in this series of illustrations 
represents what I like to call a scholar's room, at the beg-inning 
of the fifteenth cent ury l. The owner of the apartment is busily 
writing at a desk SUppOl ted on a trestle-table. He holds a 
sl}'/us in his left hand, and a pen in his right. The ink-horn he 
is using is inserted into the desk. Abuve it dre holes for two 
others, in case he should require ink of different colours. Above 
the inkstand is a pen stuck in a hole, with vacant holes beside it. 
The page on the desk is kept flat by a weight. Above this desk 
is a second desk, of nearly equal size, on which lies an open book, 
kept open by a large weight, extending over two-thirds of the 
open pages. Behind the writer's chair is his book-chest. The 
background represents a well-appointed chamber. The fluor is 
paved with encaustic tiles; a bright fire is burning on the 
hearth; the window, on the same pldn as that described in the 
last picture, is open; a comfortable-not to say luxurious-bed 
invites repuse. The walls are unplastered, but there is a hang-ing- 
under the window and over the head of the bed. 
\\'ith this simple room, containing- a scholar's necessaries and 
no more, ] will contrast the study of the Duke of U rbino. 
This beautiful room, which still exists as the Duke left it, is 
on an upper floor of the castle, commanding from its balcony, 
which faces the south, an extensive view of the approach to 
the Castle, the city, and the country beyond, backed by the 
Apennines. It is of small size, measuring- only I I ft. 6 in. by 
13ft. 4 in., and is somewhat irregular in shape. It is entered 
by a door from the Duke's private apartment. The floor is 
paved with rough tiles set in patterns. The walls are panelled 
to a height of about eight feet. The bare space between 
the top of the panel-work and the ceiling was probably hung 
with tapestry. The ceiling is a beautiful specimen of the most 
elaborate plaster-work, disposed in octagonal panels. The decora- 
tion of the panel-work begins with a representation of a bench, on 
which various objects are lying executed in intarsia work. Above 

1 Lc D/bat de fhomtcur mtrc trois FrÙtces chcvalercllx. Bibl. Roy. Bruxelles, 
No. 92j8, fol. 10. The !\IS. is from the library of the Dukes of Uurgundy, anù may 
be datcð in the second third of the flftcenth ccntur}'. 

Î Î! 

il I 
'j . \ I 
I - 



I '-ví 








Fig. 155. A scholar's room in the fifteenth century. 

FlOm a :.\IS. in the Royal Lilnary at Bru"eb. 




3 1 5 

this bench is a row of small panels, above which ag-ain is a row 
of large panels, each containing a subject in the finest intarsia, 
as for example a portrdit of Duke Frederick, figures of Faith, 
Hope, and other virtues, a pile of books, musical instruments, 
armour, a parrot in a cage, etc. In the cornice above these is 
the word FEDERICO, and the date 1476. 
Opposite the window there is a small cupboard, and on the 
uppusite side of, the projection containing it there are a few 
shelves. These are the unly receptacles for books in the room. 
From its small size it could have contained but little furniture, 
and was prob.lbly intended for the purpose traditionally ascribed 
to it, namely as a place of retirement for the Duke when he 
wished to be alone. 
Another specimen of a library so arranged as to provide 
a peaceful retreat is afforded a century later by that of 
l\Iontaigne, of which he has fortunately left a minute description. 
[M y library is] in the third story of a Tower, uf whieh the Grounrl- 
room is my Chappel, the second story an Ap.utment with a withdrawing 
Room and Closet, where I often lie to be more retired. .\bove it is a 
great \\'ardrobe, which formerly was the most useless part of the House. 
I there pass away both the most of the Days of my Life, and most of 
the Hours of those Days. In the Night I am never there. There is 
"ithin it a Cabinet handsome and neat enough, with a tIre-place very 
commodiously contriv'd, and Light very fmdy lìtted. .\nd was I not 
more afraid of the Trouble than the Expence, the Trouble that frights 
me from all Business, I could very easily adjoY/1 on either side, and on 
the same Floor, a Gallery of an hundred paccs long, and tweh-e broad, 
having found ,rails already rais'd for some other Design, to the requisite 
height. Every pldce of retirement requires a Walk. My l'houghts sleep 
if I sit still; my Fancy docs not go hy itself, as when my Legs move it : 
and all those who study withuut a Book arc in the same Condition. 
The figure of my Study is round, and ha<; no more flat Wall than 
"hat is taken up by my T.lble, and my Chairs; so that the rem.lining 
pdrt<; of the Circle present me a view of all my books at once, set up 
upon Iì\e degrecs of Shelves round about me. It has thrce noble and 
free Prospects, and is si'l.teen paces J Diameter. I am not so continually 
therc in Winter; for my House is built upon an Eminence, as its Ndme 
imports, and no part of it is so much e
pos'd to the Wind and Weather 
as that, \\hich plea<;es me the better, for being of a painful acceSs, anrl a 
little remote, as well upon the account of E'l.ercise, as being also there 
more retir'd from the Crowd. 'Tis there thdt I am in my Kingdom, as 

J The original \\ords are '
eile pas de vuide.' The substantive 'pas' must I thin!.. 
mean a foot, the It:ngth a fout makes when set upon the ground. The \\un] pace, the 
lenglh uf \\ hich i
 1 ft. 6 in. or 3 ft., is inapplicable here. 

3 16 



we say, and there I endeavour to make myself an absolute !t,[onarch, 
and so sequester this one Corner from all Society both Conjugal, Filial, 
and Ci,,'il l . 
The notices of libraries which I have collected have brought 
me to the end of the sixteenth century, by which time most of 
the appliances in use in the Middle Ages had been given up. 
I hope that I have not exhausted the patience of my readers 
by presenting too long a series of illustrations extracted from 
manuscripts. I ]ove, as I look at them, to picture to myself the 
medieval man of letters, laboriously penning voluminous treatises 
in the writing room of a monastery, or in his own study, with his 
scanty collection of books within his reach, on shelves, or in a 
chest, or lying on a table. \Ve sometimes call the ages dark in 
which he lived, but the mechanical ingenuity displayed in the 
devices by which his studies were assisted might put to shame 
the cabinet-makers of our own day. 
As the fashion of collecting books, and of having them bound 
at a ]avish expense, increased, it was obvious that they must be 
laid out so as to be seen and consulted without the danger of 
spoiling their costly covers. Hence the development of the 
lectern-system in private houses, and the arrangement of a room 
such as the Duchess l\Jargaret possessed at l\1alines. Gradually, 
however, as books multiplied, and came into the possession of 
persons who could not afford costly bindings, lecterns were 
abandoned, and books were ranged on shelves against the wall, 
as in the public libraries which I described in the last chapter. 
There is still in existence, on an upper floor in the Palazzo 
Barberini at Rome, a library of this description, which has 
probably not been altered in any way since it was fitted up 
by Cardinal Francesco Barberini about 1630. The room is 
105 ft. long by 28 ft. broad, and is admirably lighted by two 
windows in the south wall, and seven in the gallery. The 
shelves are set round three sides of the room at a short distance 
from the wall, so as to leave space for a gallery and the stairs to 
it. The cases are divided into compartments by fluted Ionic 
columns 5 ft. high. These rest upon a flat shelf 14 in. wide, 
beneath which are drawers for papers and a row of folios. This 
I Essays f!f 1I1ichael Scigllettrde /llo/ltaigllt:. !\lade English by Ch. Cotton, Vol. III. 
pp. 53,5+, 8vo. London, 17+1. I have to thank my friend !\lr A. F. Sie\"eking for 
this reference. 



3 1 7 

part of the structure is 3 ft. high from the floor to the base of 
the columns. Above the columns is a cornice, part of which is 
utilized for books; and above this again is the gallery, where 
the arrangement of the shelves is a repetition of \\ hat I ha\'e 
described in the lower part 
of the room. Dwarf cases in 
a plainer style and of later 
date are set along the sides 
and ends of the room. Upon 
these are desks for the 
catalogue, a pair of globes, 
some astronomical instru- 
ments, and some sepulchral 
urns found at Præneste. 
The older woodwork in this 
library has never been paint- 
ed or varnished, and the 
\\'hole aspect of the room is 
singularly old-world and 
Another instance is afford- 
ed by the sketch of the library 
of Jolm Boys, Dean of Canter- 
bury, "ho died in 1625. It 
occurs on the title-page of his 
works dated 1622, and I may 
add on his tomb in Canter- 
hury Cathedral also, He 
clung to ancient fashions so 
far as to set his books with their fore-edge out\\ ards, but in 
other respects his book-shelves are of a modern type. 


I ææ 


'" '" 




 "' "'- 
- . 

Fig. 156. Dean Boys in hi!; Library, 1&.12. 

I have now reached the limit which I imposed upon myself 
when I began this essay. But before I conclude Jet me say a 
few la<;t words. I wish to point out that collectors and 
builders in the :\IiddIe Ages did not guard their manuscripts 
with jealous care merely because they had paid a high price to 
ha\'e them written; they recognised what I may call the per- 
sonal element in them; they invested them with the senses and 




the feelings of human beings; and bestowed them like guests 
whom they delighted to honour. Noone who reads the Plti/o- 
bib/oil can fail to see that every page of it is pervaded by this 
sentiment; and this I think explains the elaborate precautions 
against theft; the equally elaborate care taken to arrange a 
library in so orderly a fashion that each book might be 
accessible with the least difficulty and the least delay; and the 
exuberant gratitude with which the arrival of a new book was 
In my present work I have looked at libraries from the 
technical side exdusively. It \\'ou]d have been useless to try to 
combine fire and water, sentiment and fact. But let me remind 
my readers that we are not so far removed from the medie\'al 
standpoint as some of us perhaps wou]d wish. \Vhen we enter 
the ]ibrary of Queens' College, or the older part of the 
University Library, at Cambridge, where there has heen con- 
tinuity from the fifteenth century to the present day, are we 
not mm'ed by feelings such as I have tried to indicate, such 
in fact as moved John Leland when he saw the library at 
Glastonbury for the first time? 
1\Ioreover, there is another sentiment doscly allied to this by 
which members of a College or a University are more deeply 
moved than others-I mean the sentiment of association. The 
most prosaic among them cannot fail to remember that the very 
floors were trodden by the feet of the great scholars of the past; 
that Erasmus may have sat at that window on that bench, and 
read the very book which we are ourselves about to borrow, 
nut in these collections the present is not forgotten; the 
authors of to-day are taking their places beside the authors of 
the past, and are being treated with the same care. On all 
sides we see progress: the lecterns and the stalls are still in use 
and keep green the memory of old fashions; while near them the 
plain shelving of the twentieth century bears witness to the 
ever-present need for more space to hold the invading hordes 
of books that represent the literature of to-day. On the one 
hand, we see the past; on the other, the present; and both are 
animated by full, vigorous life. 

 D EX. 

Abingdon, Ber\"s, Benedictine IIou..;c at : 
cusIoms in force re_pecting books, 68 ; 
carrells set up, 98 
-: Schoollihrary, 262 
Actor and masks: relief repre
enting in 
eum, Rome, 36 
Agapetus, pope : hi
 intended college and 
lihrary, H 
AIIJans (S.): forlD of curse used, ï8; 
endowment of scriþtori1l1n, 80; lihrary 
huilI "';;2-3. r08; stained glas
. 2.p 
.\Iençon: town library, 28; 
Alexandria: account of libraries. 6; in 
museum, ibid.; in temple of Serapi..., ; 
All Souls' Coli., Oxf.: lihrary statute. 
I .
;; special pro\ i_ion
, I J8 
ian Library, 
liIan: description, 
2;1: may have heen copied hy \\'ren 
at S. Paul's, London, 282 
analogi"",: a hook-des\.., 10;;. 19;, 2..3 
Anne de Beaujeu: her library, 30J 
Antony, Mar\..: gives library at Pergamon 
to Cleopatra. 8 
Apollo: temple and arca on Palatine 
Hill at Romc, r4; compo
ition of the 
lihlar)". rH, 19; allu-i"lIs to, hy 0, id 
and Horacc, ibid. 
Apollonius Thyan<lh: commemorated in 
Roman library, 2.
Ap'oC. triple: huw treated in early times, 
63; De Ro
si's theory, ibid.; dc<;crip- 
tion hy I'aulinus of !l;ola, ibid. ; \iew 
of I enoir, 6.., not
Ari,totle: said to have been a hoo\"- 
collector, 5; his method
 adoptcd by 
the I'tolemies, ibid. 
Ark: desk on pattern of, 297 
armarill"': in Ulpian library, '10; de- 
>>eriLed by!l;ibby, 3;; tocontaincodlás, 

ibid.; held by juri,t Ulpian to be part 
of the library,ibid.; description by Pliny 
of one sun\" in wall of a room, 38; on 
sarcophagus in 
I useo Nazionale, Rome, 
"ith ...hoemaker at \\ ork, ibid.; on do. 
in \"illa Balestra, Rome, "ith physi- 
cian reading, ibid. ; on tomb of Galla 
Placidia, 39; in Jewish synagogues, 
ibid. note; in Codex Amiatinus. ,,0, 
4 r; ver,es composed for hi. own pre
by Isidore, TIp of Se...ille, ..5; called 
jenestra by PachomlU
, 6.., 6;;, note; 
alluded to by S. Benedict, 66; \\ord 
used for a library by the Cluniac
, 6; ; 
placcd in charge of precentor, "ho is 
called al...o armarills, ibül.; same pro- 
vi_ions in force at Abingdon. 68; at 
Evesham, 69; "ord u...ed for a lihrary 
by the Carthusians, f)9; de
crihed in 
tinian Cu...tom..., ; I ; \\ hat this 
piece of furniture \Va
, 8r-96; the 
arl11arillJIl CO/Ill/LIllie. 8:!; this de. 
scrihed and figured at Fos...a !l;uova, 
l.; \,"orcester Cathcdral, 8..; Kir\..- 
stall, 8;;; 
Ieaux, Sf); at Titchfield, 
8;; Durham, 9J; hook-pres es in 
cloi.ter at Durham and \\'esIminster, 
90-94; in France, 9..; examples of 
vressc... at Hayeux, Obazine, and S. Ger- 
main l'Au"erroi
, 9..-'}6; supenision 
of pres;, at S. Augustine's, Canterbury, 
armarills (\\ ho i
 also Precentor): has 
charge of lihrary in Cluniac Houses, 
6;, ;3; in Augw,tinian, ; I ; provides 
for horrowing as \\ ell as lending book
among the I'remon'traten
ians, ;2 
Arts: hooks required for COUf'C in. at 
Camhridge, ...; 

3 2 0 


Ass!s!: library at, catalogued 1381, i3; 
analysis of this, 206, 207 
Assur-bani-pal, King of Kineveh: library 
in his palace, 2 
Astrolabe: in library of Anne de Beaujeu, 
3 0 3 
Athens: notices of ancicnt libraries at, :. ; 
library built by Hadrian, 6, 16 
Attalus, King: note on his 
Ioa at Athens, 
1 I, 110te 
Augustine (S.): directions about church 
library at Hippo, 63 
Augustine (S.), Bencdictine House at 
Canterbury: extract from custumary 
on care of I\fSS., ï6; rules for use of 
carrells. 99; organisation of library in 
cloister, ibid. 
Augustinians: rules for books in force 
among. ï 1 
AuglbtuS: builds lihraries in Rome, [2; 
porticus Octa
iæ, ibid.; temple and 
area of Apollo Palatinus, q; their 
organisation, [8 
Autun, Collège d', Paris: library at, 166 

Bale, John, laments loss of mona>tic 
libraries, '2+6 
Bamberg: chained book from monasIery, 
banca or banclIs: meaning discussed, 2+'2 
Bancroft, Abp, his library brought to 
Cambridge, 253 
Barber Surgeons, Lond.; books in their 
library chained 1639, 265 
Barberini: lihrary in their palace at 
Rome, 316 
Bateman, \ViII., Bp of Norwich: his 
library statute for Trinity II all, 136; 
division of his library, 1++ 
Bayeux, Cathedral: press called Le 
Chartr;" described and figured, 9+; 
library at, 125 
Beaulieu, Cistercian Abbey: book-room, 
86; hook-recesses in wall of cloister, 89 
Benedict (S.): passage in his Rule re- 
specting study, 66 
Benedictines: decrees given to English 
monks of the Order by Ahp Lanfranc, 
67; customs in force at S. Benoit-sur- 
Loire, 68, note; at Ahingdon, Berks, 
ibid.; at Evesham, \\' orcestershire, 69; 
their hooks hestoweel in wooden presses, 

8+; arrangement allopted at Durham, 
9 0 
Benoit (S.)-sur-Loire: cUGtomsquoted,6
note; endowment of library, ï9 
Bicester: school library, 262 
Bobbio: library, 10'2 
Bodleian Lihrary, O"f.: description, as 
fitted up hy Sir T. Hodley, 185; chains 
taken off lï57, '26fi; inconvenience of 
chaining, 266; new bookcases on wall- 
system, 2ï5 
Boethius: decoration of his library, 41 ; 
view of a library in MS. of his C011S. of 
Phil., 163, 16+ 
Bolton, Lanc.: school, 264 
Book-room: in Cistercian Houses, 8+-89; 
at Fossa NuO\'a, 83 
Boys, John: his library, 3Iï 
Brandolini, A.: epigram on library of 
Sixtus IV., 211 
Bra<ænose Coli., O"f.: lihrary statute, 
r 37; chains taken off [ïSO, 266 
breve or brevis = a hook-ticket: in Cluniac 
Customs, 6ï; in Lanfranc's decrees for 
Benedictines, 68 
Brewster, \\'ill.: bequeathes books to All 
Saints' Ch., Hereford, 262 
Budge, Dr \Vallis: note on Mesopota- 
mian discoveries, 4 
Bury, Lanc.: lihrary in school, '26.3 
Bury S. Edmunds: use of carrells, 98; 
cloister glazed \\ ith sIained glass, 100; 
library buill [+29-+5, 108 
Busts in Roman libraries: see Portraits 

Cæsar, Julius: intends to build public 
lihrary in Rome, 12 
Cæsarea: library. 62 
Calder Abbey: portion of book-room, 88 
Canterbury: see Christ Church. Canter- 
Canterbury Coli., O"f.: library furui
from Christ Church, Canterbury, 1+.3 
capm: box for carrying rolls, 30 
Cardinal Coli., Oxf.: library.statute, [3ï 
Carols: see Carrell
Carpenter. John (HI' of \Vorcester): his 
lihrary foundation, 126 
Carpet: books to be laid out on, in 
Chaptcr House for annual audit in 
Cluniac Houses, 6ï ; in Benedictine, 68 
Carrclls: in cloister at Durham, 9<'; 

detailed account of, with ground plan of 
a window, 96; at \,"e_tmilbler AhLey, 
92.93; series of, in stone. at Glouct"_ter, 
9Ó-9 8 ; general con
 as to 
arrangement, 98; instances of their 
e in \ arious houses, ibid.; by \I horn 
to be used, 99 
C arthu
ians : rules for books in force 
among, 69 
Cartmel, Lanc.: books to be chained in 
church\larden's pew, 2
ioùorus : hi
X grm.dltJr men- 
tioned, -fO; intended college in Rome, 
H; monastery, library, and scriptorill1Jl 
aI Yivarium, ibid. 
Catharine (S.) Coli., Camb.: number of 
bools in library, 1-f5; ne\l cases, 28;; 
Cedar: s
e Citrus 
Cesena: description of library, lIj9- 20 3 
Chaining: booh chained in S. "ary's 
Ch., Oxf., cent. xiii., 132; at Peter- 
house, Camb., '3;;, q;;; Trinit} Hall, 
136,168; I'\ew Coli., Oxf., 13ï; in- 
òiscriminaIe chaining forbidden, 13 8 ; 
tem in use at Zutphen explained, 
-159; in Stadtbibliothel at Xurem- 
berg, 163; at Sorbonne, Paris, 164; 
Collège d'Autun, 166; S. \ïctor, ibitl.; 
inconvenience of, at Oxf., I ï2; at Here- 
ford de cribed, I j 4-8; at 'Ierton Coli" 
Oxf., 181, 182; traces of, at S. John's 
Coli., Oxf., 18;;; at Cathedral Library, 
\Yells, 1!!9; at Ce
ena, 203; on printed 
bool from Hungary now at Ghent, 204; 
chains bought for \-atican Library, 2'9; 
Iedicean library, Florence, 238- 
240; aI Grantham, 25ï; Cartmel, 2;:8; 
l;orton, 259; Chetham library, 
chester, 260; \\ïmborne, 261 ; Dench- 
worth, 262; All Saints', Hereford, 
ibid.; Abingdon, Berls, ibid.; Bicester, 
ibid.; Guildford, 263 ; instance_ of late 
u_e of chaining, 264; Faculty of 

Iedicine, Pari
, ibid.; Corp\l
Coil., Camb., ibid.; Gra}'
 Inn, ibid.; 
S. John's Coli., Gomille and Caius 
4 011., Petf'lhou,e, Trinily Coli., Camb., 
265; Library of Barber S\lrgeon
ibid. ; \\ ills of Sir :\1. Hale and 

1. Scri\ ener, ibid.; chains taken off 
at variou
 places, 266; inc')1J\ eniencc 
of, at Bodleian, ibid., note 

c. L. 


3 21 

Chair \lith de
k: figured In 
ISS., 309- 
3 12 
e: space_ di,'ided off at 
t end for book-room
 in monasterie
!!j-89; bools read in neighbourhood 
of. 89 
Charles V., King of France: hook-che
293; fits up library in Lom re, ibid. 
Chest for books: bought for Vatican 
Lihrary, 218; used by Simon, Abbat of 
S. Albans. 292; in France. 293 
Chester Cathedral: arche, in cloi,ter, 
po"ibly u,ed for books, 89 
Chetham. Humphry: prO\ ision
 of "ill, 
259; library in 'Ianche,ter, 260 
Chichele, Abp: builds library aI Can- 
Ierbury, 106; account of this, 190 
Christ Church, Canterbury: cur
e from 
IS.. ;8; library-walk of cloister, 
ets of nine holð. 92; carrell
e, 99; gla
s in cloi
ter, 100; cata- 
logue, saec. xii., 102; library, 106; 
probable extent and arrangement of 
this de
cribed, IQO-I94; HO\\Ie}- 
Harrison library, 256 
Christopher Le Slocls (S.), Lond.: 
library, 244 
Chrbt's Hospital, Lond.: library, 108 
: libraries built in or near, 61, 
Cirta: library, 62 
Cistercians: rules for books, jO; e\ olution 
of bool-room, 84-89; plan of this at 
sa :-';uo..-a, 8;.; Kirk
tall, ibÙI.; 
arrangement of books in, at 'Ieau" 
86; Titchfield, 8;; book-room
\\est end of Chapter House, Fume-" 
ibid.; Calder Abbey, 
H; FounIains, 
ibid. ; Beaulieu, 89; Hayle", ibitl.; 
Chester Cathedral, ibid. 
Citcaux: b00ks chained near Chapter 
I louse, 89; arrangelI'enI of Lools, 
saec. xv., 'o.
-I06 ; permanent library, 
109- 112 
Citrll': identification of tree so called, 
22, Iwt
; used to preserve rolls, 19 
Clain aux: curse \I
ed, ;8; books chained 
near Chapter House, 81); library. 112-4; 
catalogue of this discussed, 1Ql)-M; na- 
ture of fittings, 19M 
Clare Coil., Camb.: account of old 
librar}, 11'6; ne\\ ca_es put up 162j, 


3 22 

ibid.; their plan discussed, I8ï; new 
library fitted up, '28;; 
dass: meaning of word dbcussed, 2+.1 
claustrlim sill< armaJ'io etc., ï 5 
Cleopatra: receives lilnary of Pergamon 
from Antony, 8 
Cloister: the centre of monastic life, 80; 
\\ ork interntpted by cold and bad 
weather, ibid.; activity at S. :\Iartin's, 
Tournai, 81; arrangements at Durham 
described, ()o; illustrated by reference 
to \\"estminster Abbey, 91
+; was 
glazed at Durham, 90; in other Houses, 
Cluniacs: regulations in their Customs 
respecting books, 6ï; date of these 
Customs, 6R, note; book-room in their 
priory at !\Iuch \\' enlock, 87 
Cobham, Thomas: library, Oxf., ,+8- 
ISI; stained glass in windo\\s, 2+'2 
Codex, a book: how accommodated, 36, 
.n; figured on tomb of Calla Placi,\ia, 
Codex Anliatinus: representation of 
armarium described, +0 
Cold, in cloister, 80 
ælllmPlla: a set of shelves, 87 
comlllllllCS libri: meaning of term. 82 
Corbie: note from MS. once belonging 
to, ïS, 1lote; injnnction to use a :\IS. at, 
carefully, ïï and 1lote; endowment of 
library, ï9 
,orlllla: used for the knobs of a roll, 28 
Corpus Christi Coil., Camb.: hook
chained 1523, 26+ 
Corpus Christi Coil., Oxf.: library statute, 
13 ï, 1,18; provisions against indis- 
criminate chaining, 138; fittings 
supplied 151 i, 172; a type of the 
stall-system, ibid.; elevation of one 
bookcase, Ii 3 
Cosma e Damiano: church of, in Rome, 
25, '26 
Crates (of l\Ia\1us.): his visit to Rome 
ami inAuence there, 1+ 
Creighton, Rob., Hp of \Vells: fits up 
cathedral library, 188 
Croxden, Cistercian Abbey: book-room, 
Cruas, on the Rhone: book-press in the 
church, 94 
Cupboards: in thickness of \\ all, 313 


Curses, un those \\ ho steal or damage 
;\ISS., ïí 
Cuthbert, Abbat of \\'eannonth: his 
scribes paralyscrl with cold, 80 

Damasus, Pope: his archivum or Record 
Office, +2 
demonstl'atio: meaning discussed, '243 
Demosthenes: statue of, to shew \\ ay of 
hol(Ting roll, '2 ï; replica of his statue 
at Knowle Park, ibid., note 
Denchworth : library in church, 262 
De Rossi: theory respecting S. Lorenw 
in Damaso, +2; of the use of a triple 
apse, 63 
Dcrr: library at, explored by Dr \\'. 
Budge, 4 
desclls: nleaning di
sed, 2+2 
distil/clio: word used in catalogue of 
Dover Priory, 19+-196; meaning dis- 
cussed, 196, 2+3 

pa = cuver of a rull, 29; coloured 
purple, 29 
Dolei, (;iovanninu dei: supplies book- 
cases to Vatican Library, '2IH 
domulicllla: a compartment of a book- 
case, '2++ 
Dover, Priory of S. Martin at: intro- 
duction to catalogue translated, I 
Durllam: description of the b'Jok-presses 
and carrells in Ihe cloister, 90; arma- 
I ium CO/IlIUlllle, 93; plan of window and 
account of carrells, 96-99; library at, 
saec. xii., 10'2; enumeration of books 
at, saec. xiv., 103; library at, built 
I H 6, IOi; library litted up by Dean 
Sudbury, saec. xvii.. 189 
Durham Coil., Oxf.: library, 142 

Ely: endowment of scriPtoriulIl at, ï9 
Emmanuel Co\1., Camb.: bookcases at, 
'25+; new cases in library, '28::- 
Endowment of libraries: at Corbie, ï9; 
S. l\Iartin des Champs, ibid.; S. Benoit- 
sur-Loire (Fleury), ibid.; at Ely, ibid. 
 to use books carefully, i6 
: use of word explained, 32, 
Escõrial : built by Philip II., 26ï; de- 
scription of library, 26H; of bookcases, 
'269; caSes copied at Bibliothèque 
l\Iacarine, 2 i 3 

Eton College: stained glass in Election 
Hall, 2.p; chains taken off 1719, 266 
Eucherim., Up of Lyons: describe
private library, 43 
: said to have been a book- 
; line<, from the Frogs about 
him quoted, ibÙI. 
Euthydemus, follower of Socrates: his 
Evesham, Benedictine lIouse in \\" or- 
cestershire: cu_Iom' respecting bools, 
6f) ; carre lis, 99 

.fillestro = cupboard : in rule of S. Pacho- 
mius, 64; meaning of \lord discus
6;., lIote 
Fleury, Abbeyat: see Renoit (S.)-sur-Loire 
fout/lls = cell: recepIacle for rolls in 
Roman libralies, 31 
Fo"a Nuova: hool-press at, describcd 
and figured, !j2; plan and description 
of bool-room, H5 
Fountains Abbey: pÜ!>ition ofbool-roonN 
at, 89 
10xIails: bought to du!.I Vatican Library, 
23 2 
Francis (S.): reproves a brother "ho 
ked for a p,alter, 72, lIote 
Franciscans: pro\isinns respecting books, 
7 2 ; their librari", described in the 
l'hilobibloll, ibit!. 
Froidmont: glass in library, 242 
frolls: used for the edge of a roll, 28; 
was evidently visible, H 
FUflle" Ahbey: bool-rooms at \Ie_I end 
of, 87 

Call (S.): library at, 102 
Galla Placidia: book-pre" on her tomb, 
Galien, S., Tours. church of: chained 
library at, 171!j, 266 
Cenevii:ve, S., Paris: description of 
library, 28\1 
(;efllmin (S.) des I'rès, Paris: library 
open to !.trangers, 7
; e"pan
ion of 
library at, 11+-6; fitting
 de-cribed. 289 
(;ermain (S.) I' Auxerrois, church of: 
\I "Ullen prc
. in, described, 1)5 
(;hirlandajo, thc brothers: engaged to 
,Iecorale \" atican Lihrary. 211; their 
\\1 .rk dcscribc.l. 21 3 


3 2 3 

Glass: in certain cloisters, 100 
Gla!.tonbury: feelings of Leland on enter- 
ing Libra,y, 19+ 
Globes: in Vatican Library, 221); in 
library of S. Gene\ iève. 289 
Gloucester Cathedral: librar} -\I alk of 
c1oi!.ter, 9 I; sets of nine holes, 92; 
!.tone can-ells dðcribed and figured, 
96-98; libJ:uy, 107 
Conville Hall, Camb.: curse from breviary 
used at. 79 
Comille and Caius CoIl., Camb.: bool- 
cases at, 2
+; chaining of books be- 
(lueathed by Dr Caius, 26
Gorton: bookcase, 259 
gliCdlls=a shelf, 87, lIote; used \lith same 
meaning at Dover Priory. r9+-196; 
a side of a lectem, 167 
Grammar Schools: see Libraries. 
Grantham: library, 2;'7 
Gray's Inn: bequest of bools to be 
chained, 26+ 
Gregory (S.) the Great: notice of his 
monastery at Rome. 44 
Grünendaal: library, 108 
Guildford: chain in library of Glannnar 
School, 1
7; further account of this, 
26 3 

Hadrian: library built by him in Athens. 
16-18; similarity of plan bet" een it 
and Pergamon, r 8 
Hale, Sir l\Iatt.: his books given to 
Lincoln's Inn 1676 to be chained, 26
IIa\l le!.moore, N.: builds library ami 
bookcasLs at Queen's College, Oxford, 
Hayles, Cistercian Abbey: bool-room, 
86; arches possibly used as book- 
recesses, 89 
Herculaneum: library, 23-2
Hereford, All Saints' Ch.: library, 262 
- Chapter Library: notes on, 17+; 
chaining described, 17+-8 
Hippo: libralY, 63 
Hobart, Kich.: his bookcase at King's 
College, Cambridge, 2
Iich.: builds library at 
Lincoln Cathedral, 276 
lIoul, to bold up desk, 179 
I ["race: advice 10 his friend Cd,us 
re'!,ecting the l'.iI.lIine lil'lar}, II) 

3 2 4 


Ho\\ley-Halrison Library, Canterbury, 
Humphrey, D. of Gloucester: his l\ISS. 
at Oxford, 24i 

Ï1ldex=tickeI bearing the title of a roll. 
28; of some bright colour, 
9; used 
in Cicero's library, 33 
hiLlore, Up of Seville: on library of 
Pollio at Rome, 12; on decoration of 
libraries, -+1; account of his 0\\ n 
library, -+5, -+6 
hory: books 'HiUen on, 20 

Jerome (S.): ad,ises consultation of 
church-libraries. 62; on library at 
Cæsarea, ibid.; collated there 
used by Origen, ibid. 
J erusal
m: library, 62 
J ef\'aulx, Cistercian Abbey: book-room, 
Jesus Call., Camb. : equidistant \\ indows 
of library, 1-f8; glass in library. 2-f2;, 2;;-f 
J e\\ s: used armaria in synagogues to 
contain the rolls of the law, 39, lIofe 
John (S.) the Baptist, Coll.. Oxf.: library 
statute at. 13i; library described, 18;; 
_ the Evangelist, Coll., Camb.: 
equidistant wimlu\\ s in Olll library, 
q8; contract for desks, 160; book 
chained at, 1;;6-+, 265; library huilt 
1623-1628, 2-+8-2;;1 
ges: curse from 1\IS. at, i 8 
Juniper: bought to fumigate Yatican 
Library, 232 

Kedellninster. Sir John: founds library 
at I angley, 25 8 
Kempis, Thomas à: quotation from, on 
desolate condition of priest and convent 
\\ ithout bools. i!i; injunction to use 
1\IS5. carefully, ii 
King's Coli., Camb.: library statute, 
I 3i; number of books in library Q53. 
14;;; bookcase by bequest from X. Ho- 
bart, 25-f; Cole's account of library, 
25;; ; chains taken off liii, 266 
Kirkstall Abbey: thearmarÙtI1lCOlll11Ume, 
Kouyunjik: library, discO\erell by La- 
yard, 2; criticised by Dr W. Budge, -+ 

Lanciani. R. : discoyers a private library 
in Rome, 22; describes record-house 
of Vespasian, 26 
Lanfranc, Abp: decree respecting use of 
books, 67 
Iarye: library, 25 8 
Iuseum, Rome: sculpture re- 
presenting actor with masks, 3 6 
Layard: library discovered by him at 
Kouyunjik, 2 
Leaver, James: gives press to Bolton 
school, Lancashire, 26-f 
Lectern-system: fittings in early lihraries 
so named, 151-153; at Zutphen, 1;;3- 
159; Queens' Coli., Cam b.. I;; I, 1;;9; 
Pembroke Coll., S. John's Coli., Peter- 
house. Camb., 160; Lincoln Cathedral, - 
Ius. Brit., 162; 1\urem- 
berg. 163; the Sorbonne, Paris, rti-+; 
the Collège d'Autun, Paris, 166; 
l\Iona,tery of S. Victor, Paris, 166; 
Trinity Hall. Cam\)., 168; 1\IS. Fitz- 
"illiam !\Ius., 169; at l"niyersity of 
Leyden. 170; Ce,ena, 199-203; S. 
!\Iarl, Florence, 205; !\Ionte Oliveto, 
ibid.; Assisi, 206; Vatican. 225; Me- 
dicean Library, Florence. 235-2-f0; in 
private houses, 297-3 01 
lectri1l1111l = desk, 16 I 
Leland, John: his feeling.. on entering 
library at Glastonbury, 19-+ 
Lepidus, Domitius: temple built by him 
in Rome, 13 
lil'er= book: decision of the jurist Ulpian 
as to what is includell under this 
category, 3i 
Librarian: see Precentor-Armarius 
Lnm.\RIES, .\s,yrian: at Kouyunjik, 
discovered by Layard, 2-4; at Derr, 4 
-of Cathedrals: 116-128; Lincoln, 
IIi, 161; Salisbury. 121; Old S. Paul's, 
122; \Yells, 123; Lichfield, 12 3; 
1\oyon, 12-+; Bayeux, 125; York, uS; 
Tro} es, 126; \Y orcester, 126; Rouen, 
_, Christian: situated in or near 
churches, 61; at Jerusalem, 62; at 
C.-csarea, il>id.; at Cirta, ibid.; aI 
Hippo, 63; use of the triple apse, 63 
_ of Colleges: statutes of Merton 
Con., O>.ford, 133; l'niversity, 133; 
01 id, r.n; I'eterhouse. Cambridge, 

LIIIR,\I<IF, (colli.) 
13"; Trinity Hall, 136; '\e\\ Coli., 
Oxford. 13i; All Soul
" 13i; Magdalen 
Coli., Oxford, 138; Corpus Christi 
Coli., Oxford, 13i, 138; Pembroke 
ColI., Cambridge, 139; résumé of 
regulaIions, ibid.; loan of hooks from, 
"'0; ru]e
 copied from monasteries, 
1..1; a real library an after-thought, 
...3; characterisIics of this, q3; num- 
ber of books, 1.J,3-q8; divided inIo 
lending and reference deparIments. 1";<; 
examples of such lihraries, 1.J,8; Bp 
Cobham's library, Oxf., ibid.: Queens' 
Coli., Camb.,a type, 1;<1, 1;'9; fillings 
at Pembroke and other Coli., 160; 
S. John's Coli., Camb., 2..8-250; at 
PeIerhouse, 2;<1; at Gonville and 
, Emmanuel, Jesus, Pembroke, 
2;'...; King's Coli., Camb., ibid.; 
Queen's Coli., Oxf., 2;':- 
-, Greek: notices of, in Athens and 
el,e\\ here, ..' !'; at Alexandria, 6; at 
Pergamon, i-I2 
-, medie\al: general characteri
-, monastic: rule of Pachomius. 
6..; general consirieration." 65; Bene- 
dictine Rule, 66; Cluniac Cu,toms, 
i6id.; decrees given to Eng]i,h Bene- 
dictines by L'mfranc, 6i; Custom'i of 
Benedictine Houses, 68; of Carthusians, 
69; of Cistercians, iO; of Augustinians, 
ibid.; of Premonstraten<ians, i2; of 
:\Iendicants, ibid.; general conclusions, 
i 3; di> ided into library of reference 
and library for lending, i4; open to 
st rangers. i 5 ; books a necessary 
possession, ibid.; protection of books, 
i6; curses, ii; endo\\mentoflibraries, 
i9; \\ ork done and boo\..s kept in the 
cloister, 80; furniIure used, 81; arma- 
1';'1111 COlllll11l1k', 82; aI Fo,sa !\uo\a, 
ibid.; at \\' orcester, :;..; evolution of 
Ci-tercian book-room, 8..-89; arrange- 
menIs in Benedictine Houses, 90; at 
We'itmin,Ier AbheY'91-94; supenision 
at S. Augustine's, Canterbury, 99; 
decoration. 100; gro\\ th of, 101; at 
S. Riquier, S. Gall, Hobbio. Lorsch, 
Durham, Canterbury, 102; construcIion 
of a special library, 106; at Canterbury, 


3 "- 

LIBR,\RIb (colli.) 
ibid.; Durham and Gloucester, 10i: 
\\ïnche'iter, S. Albans, "'orcester. 
Bury S. Edmunds, S. Victor, Pari_, 
Franciscans of London, 108; Citeaux, 
109"""112; Clairvaux, 112-11...; S. Ger- 
main des Près, Paris, I I...; destruction 
in England, 2...6; extension of their 
libraries in France in I ith cent. 28i; 
library of Jesuits at Rheims, 28ï-289; 
of S. Geneviève, Paris, 289; S. Ger- 
main des Près, ibid.; :\Ionte Cassino, 
-, parochial: at Grantham, 2;< i ; 
at Langley Marye, 258; Cartmel, ibid.; 
will of H. CheIham, 259; Gorton, 
ibid.; Turton, ibid.; "'imborne :\[iß5ter, 
261; Dench\\orth, 262; All SainIs', 
Hereford, ibid.; Ahingdon, ibid. 
-, private: books kept in chests, 
292; lower in Louvre fitted up as 
library. 293; illustration of this, 29...; a 
Cannelite in his study, 296; a scholar'. 
chair, 29i; lectern, 29i-9; Sidp of 
FOOlS, 29S; library of Margaret of 
Austria, 299-302; of Anne de Beaujeu, 
, 302; Italian lectern, 30..; \\ heel-desk, 
30...-8; chairs \\ ith des\.., 309-312; 
desks used in Italy. 312; \\all-cup- 
boards, 31.
; scholar's room, 31...; 
study of Duke of t:" rbino, i6id.; of 
Montaigne. 315; Palazzo Barberini. 
316; library of Dean Bo}s. 31i 
-, Roman (B.C.) : intenIion of 
Julius Cæ,ar to build a library, 12; 
library of C. Asinius Pollio, ibid.; 
decorated \\ ith busts of departed author,. 
ibid.; \\orks of Augustus. ibzil.; Por- 
ticus Octa\iæ, 12-1...; temple and area 
of Apollo, ...; other public librarie.., 
15; of Tiberius, Ye_pasian, Trajan, 
ibid.: of Hadrian at Athen_, 16-18: 
organisation of Roman libraries, I
composition of PalaIine libraI'}. ibid.; 
description by Ovid, ibid.; advice of 
Horace respecting, t9; library of 
Tiberius, ibid.; of Yespasian it, lemPlo 
Pads, ibid.; of Trajan (bibliollum 
Ulpia), ibid.: loan of books from public 
collections, 20; fittings, 36; private 
libraries: of Lucullus, 20, 2 I; fa"hicm 
for book -collecting denounce,] b} 


3 26 

Seneca, 21; library in Yia dello Statuto 
discovered by Lanciani, 22; at Hercu- 
laneum, 23; near Rome, as de
by :\Iartial, 31; record-house of Ves- 
ian, 26, 2 i; contents of Roman 
libraries, 2j-30; fittings of Roman 
libraries; discussion of words used, 
3 0 -33; what the furniture so designated 
\\ as, 3+' 35; representation found at 
::-';eumagen, 35; desk for rolls in 
luseum, 36; presses (arm<l1 ia), 
3 6 -+ 1 
_, l{oman (A.D.): decoration men- 
tioned by Boethius, +1; by Isidore, +1, 
+2; library described by Eucherius, 
+3; of pope Agapetus. H; of Isidore, 
Bp of Seville, +5; summary of l)agan 
conception of a library, +í; illustrated 
by Vatican Library of Si"tus V., +i- 60 
_ of Schools: Abingdon, 262 ; 
Bicester, ibid.; Rivington, ibid.; 
Guildford, 263; Bury, ibid.; Bolton, 
Ltbrary = bookcase, 2'H 
Lichfield Cathedral: library, 12 3 
Lincoln Cathedral: library, rI i; desks 
described, 161 
IZIlla: a shelf for books, lOS, note; at 
Saint Ouen, 2++ 
Linen: books written on, 20 
L'lsle, Roger; gives books to Oxford, 13 2 
Loan of hools: from public libraries in 
R.on1e, 20 
Loan of Looks (for extemaluse): allowed 
at Abingdon, 68; Evesham, 69; among 
ians, íO; Augustinians, 7 1 ; 
1 'remonstratensians, j 2 ; enjoined on 
monls by Council of Paris 1212, j+; 
books bequeathed Ihat they may be lent, 
í 5; one House lent to another, ibid.; 
to Oxford scholars, 132; prescribed 
in College Statutes, 133-13i; instances 
of, at Merton Coll., qo; from Yatican 
Library, 230-1 
Loan of books (to brethren on written 
attestation): among Cluniacs, 6i; 
Benedictines, 68; Augustinians, j I ; 
probable meaning of this provision, i+. 
I, cltlameJltulIl = pigeon-hole: receptacle 
for rolls in Roman libraries, ,p, 3 2 


IVI a = straps to leep rolls closed, 29 
Lorenzo in Damaso: church, +2 
Lorsch: library, [02 
Louvre: library fitted up, 293 
Lucullus; library describe.l, 'lO, 21 
LJlmcn a1lilllm: chaine,l book so called, 

Iagdalen Coli., Oxf.: library statute at, 
Margaret of Austria: library described, 

Iarl, S., Florence, Dominican Convent 
of: library, 205 
"Iartin (5.) des Champs, Paris: endow- 
ment of library, i9 
_, at Tournai: literary work in 
ter, 8 I 
Mary (S.) Church in Oxf.: books chained, 
:\Iatthew (S.): Hebrew original of his 
Gospel at Cæsarea, 62 

Iazarin, Cardinal,' library of: described, 
2j2- 2 í+; furniture noted by Wren, 2í 6 
:\Ieaux, in Holderness: book-roonl at, 
and arrangement, 86 
:\Iedicean Library, Florence: döcribed, 
23+- 2 + 0 
:lIedicine, Faculty of, Paris: bools 
chained in library 1509, 26+ 
:\Ielozzo da Forli: engaged to paint in 
Vatican Library, 212; his work de- 
scribed, 2q 
:\Iendicants: libraries, j 2 
:\Ierton Coll., Oxf.: library statute, 133; 
choice and loan of bools, qo; recep- 
tion of a gift, q I; description of 
library, Ií8--18S; history, 183; sale of 
old bookcases, il>Tii. ; n"ew cases supplied 
to south library 1623, 18+; chains 
taken off I í92, 266 
:\Iesmin (Saint): curse from :\IS., ii, j8, 
and 'lote 

Ietellus, Quintus: 
hare in building the 
Porticus Octaviæ, 13; plan may have 
been derived from Pergamon, 1+ 
Michelangelo: builds Medicean Library, 
23+; his sketch for the bookcases, 23 6 
l\lickleth\\ aite, J. T.: his plan of West- 
ter Abbey, 91 
:\lona,tic influence at Oxf. and Camb., 


3 2 7 

)Iontaigne: VISitS Vatican Library 6 
)Iarch, 1:;81, 230; describes his o\\n 
library, 315 
\Ionte Ca
,ino: library described, 290 
)Ionte Oli"eto, Benedictine Convent of: 
libral"}'. 205 
)Iuch Wenlock, Cluniac Priory: book- 
room, 8ï 

Xavarre, Collège de: library, 16;; 
iIIetley, Ci
tercian Abbey: book-room, 
X eumagen near Trèves: representation 
of a library found at, 3,., and 1l0te 
Xew College, Oxford: library statute, 
""ills= pigeon-hole: receptacle for rolls 
in Roman libraries, 30, 31 
Xoyon Cathedral: library, 12+ 
Xuremberg: chained bools in Stadtbib- 
liothek. 163 
X uzio. )Iatteo: build
 library at Cesena. 

Obazine, in Central France: book-press 
describerl and figured, 95 
Odo, Abbat of 5. )Iartin at Tournai: 
promotes work in cloister, 81 
 \ïtaIis: his \\ ork stopped by 
cold, 80 
ordo: a 
heIf, 2++ 
Oriel Coli., Oxf.: library statute, 133-13+ 
Ouen. Saint: library, 2++ 
Ovid: lines from Ihe Tristia describing 
Palatine library, 18 
Oxford: destruction of MSS. I :;+9. 

Pachomius (5.): provision
 of his rule, 
6+, 6:;, "ote 
Palatine library, Rome: see Apollo 
: founds library at Cæsarea, 62 
Parchment: story of iIs invention at 
Pergamon, 8 
ParkhursI, IIp John: bequeathes books 
to GuildrOlrl school, 2/53 
Paul, S., London, Cathedral: library, 
; library buill by Wren, 
Paulinus, Bp of X ola: de
cribes u,e of 
e in ba
ilica built by himself. 63 
Peace, library in Temple of, at Rome: 
-' e Vespasian 
: 11'e and meaning di

'ed. 32; in Cicero'
 library, 33; 
conclusion respecting, 3+ 
Peisi,tratus, tyrant of Athens: ,aid to 
have collecled a library, 5 
Pembroke Coli., Camb.: library statute, 
I.W; library fittings, 160; bookcases 
at, :!
Peñi,cola: library of Boniface XIII., 
Pergamon: description of site, ï; founda- 
tion of library by Eumenes II., 8; given 
to Cleopatra by Antony, ibid.; plan of 
temple and precinct of AIhena, 9; ac- 
count of German exploration, 9-1 I ; 
plan po'sibly copied at Rome by Q. 
'I etellus, 1+; described to Roman, by 
Crates of )lallus, ibid.; copied by 
lIa(lrian at Athens, 18; by Pupe 
us at Rome, +2 
Peter (S.), Liverpool, Ch. of: bools 
bequeathed by John Fell<, mariner, 
181;", to be chained, 266 
PeterboTOugh: cloister window, glazerl, 
Peterhouse, Camb.: library 'tatutes, I.H- 
136; di'cussion of catalogue dated 1+18, 
1+5-1+8; lecterns in oM library, 160; 
bookcases put up between 16+1 and 
16+8, 251; chaining of book- be- 
queathed by Dr Perne 1;,,88. 265 
Peter (S.) )Iancroft, Xom ich: "ooden 
pres' in vestry, 96, ,wte 
Philobiblon: descliption of libraries of 
)lendicanIs quoted from, ;2; injunction 
to handle )ISS. carefully, ï(" 71ote. 
t prescribed in. 29ï 
Pigeon-hole _ystem: used in ({oman 
libraries, + 7 
Pilkington, Bp James: statutes for school 
at Rivington, 262 
PlaIina, BarIulommeo: appointed li- 
brarian of Vatican, 208; engages a 
binder, 209; writes inscription in Latin 
library, 21."; rooms for himself and bis 
assbtants, 216; orders desks for Latin 
library, 21 ï; selecIs subjects for fres- 
coes in Ospedale di Santo Spirito, 21:; ; 
his a"j,tants, 231-2; prm irles all ar- 
ticles required for maintenance, 2.P 
Pliny (the younger): de,cribes armarilll/l 
sunk in \\all of his bedroom, 38 
pllltclIs=shelf: use of "ord rli,cu>><"01 
and illustrated, 3 2 . 33, .H 

3 28 

Pollio, C ..hiniu'i: huilds a library and 
an atrium libeltatis in Rome B.C. 39, 
Polycrates. t} rant of Samos: said to have 
collected a library, + 
Pompeii:: reproduction of fresco she" ing 
way to hold roll, 27 
Pont is, 'Ym.: builds staircase in Rouen 
Cathedral, 129 
Porticus Octa\'iæ, 12-1+ 
Portraits of departed authors used to de- 
corate libraries:: at Pergamon. II; by 
C. A,inius Pollio, 12; by Augustus, 14; 
in private libraries, 35; inscriptions ac- 
companying them, ibid.; described by 
Eucherius, TIp of Lyons, in a private 
libraI'}, +3; in library designed by 
pope Agapetus, H 
Plecentol : caUed also armarills and en- 
trusted with care of books by Cluniacs, 
67; Benedictines, 68; Augustinians, 7 I; 
Premonstratensians, 72; su pervises use 
of pre,s at S. Augustine's, Canterbury, 
tratensians: rules for books 

among. 'i 2 
Promra/or biblio/heca11/111: officel ap- 
pointed by Augustus, 18 
Protection of MSS.:: rule for holding a 
1\IS., 76; hands to be clean, ibid.; 
handkerchiefs to be wrapped round, 
ibid.; entreaties to use carefully, ibid. ; 
curses on those who damage or steal, 

Queens' Coli., Camb. : number of books 
in library 1+72, 1+;<; equidistant win- 
dows of library, 1+8; library selected 
as type, 151; analysis of catalogue 
dated 1+72, t67 
Queen's Coli.. Ox[: library built by 
IIawkesmoore, 2;<:' 

Ramsey Abbey, Hunts: bad weather in 
cloister at, 80 
Remi, S., at Rheims: library belonging 
to, 286 
Reserved library: in collegiate libraries, 
q;;; at Assisi, 207 ; at Yatic:lI1, 2 II 
Rheims: library of S. Remi, 286; of the 
Jesuits, 287 
Riquier (S.): library, 102 


chool library. 262; Bp Pil- 
kington's statute for, ibid. 
Roche. Cistercian Abbey: book-room. 86 
roe, a \\ heel = a book-desk, 29+; ex- 
plained. 29;;; illustrated, 3 0 +-3 08 
Rolls: dimensions, use, etc., 27; fa,tened 
to stick, 28; this decorated \\ ith knobs 
(co1"Jlua), ibid.; edges (frolltes) of roll 
cut, ibid.; ticket (;'ld",') appended. 29; 
closed \\ ith straps (/ora), ibid. ; wrapped 
in covets, ibid.; carried in a capsa or 
scrilliul1I, 30; receptacles for. 30-3+; 
desk for reading, 36; aJmaJ'illlll to 
contain, 37 
Rome: see Libraries, Roman 
Rouen:: Cathedral library. 128-1.

Salisbury: Cathedral library, I'll 
Sarcophagus: in Mus. I'\az., Rome, with 
shoemaker at work in front of a pre", 
3 8 ; in '"ilia Balestra, with ph} sician 
reading. ibid. 
scrilliulll: box for carrying rolls. 3 0 
Scriptorium: endowment, at Ely, 79; 
at S. Albans, 80 
Iatt.: bequeathes /;;<0 to 
Univ. Library. Camb., 1687, to buy 
chains, 26;; 
sedile: meaning di
cussed, 2H 
Sellyng, Prior. at Canterbury: sets up 
carrells in the cloister, 99; glazes the 
windo\\s, 100; fits up library. 106 
Seneca: denounces fashion for book- 
collecting, 2 I 
Slúp of Fools: lectern used in, 297 
Shiryngton, 'Yalt.:: builds library at Old 
S. Paul's Cathedral, 122 
UlÀÀI'ßos=tÏcket bearing the name of a 
roll, 29; used in Cicero's library. 33 
Simon, abbat of S. Alb:ms: book-chest. 
29 2 
solaJ illlll = press, 207 
Soruonne: library, I t1+; glass in ",indo\\, 
sþalera or spal/icra: a settle, 228 
Stained glass: instances of, in libraries, 
sial/a or sta//u1/l: meaning discussed. 2+2 
Stall-syste"1: term explained, 172; type 
at Corp. Chr. CoIl., Oxf., ibid.; de- 
scri ption of these cases, 173 j chaining 
used. 17+-8; fittings at 1\Ierton Coli., 

O"r., li8-18;;; at S. John Ihe Baptist 
CoIl.. Trinity Coli., Bodl. Library, 
Oxford, IH.; at Clare Coli., Camb., 
J!j6; W

ter AbLe}, 18i: Wells 
Cathedral, 1118; Durham Cath., 189: 
origin probably mona
tic, 190: Christ 
Church, Cant., 190-..; Clairvaux, ((þ- 
8; 110\, Ie} - Harrison library at Canter- 
Student-monk_: at Oxr. and Camb., 1.f2 
Sudbury, John, dean of Durham: fits up 
Frater as librar}, I&) 

labula, board CO\ ered \\ ith \\ ax and 
parchment to record loan of books, 139 
tt'xlus = book-helf; at Ch. Ch., Canter- 
bury, 192, 2H 
IIIt'ca: a shelf or cuplK>ard, 8i, 1I01t' 
Theodmarus Ca>.!oinensis: his leiter to 
Charlemagne quoted, ;6 and 1Iole 
Tiberius, Emperor: his library in Rome, 
1:-, 16; thi.. mentioned hy Aulus 
Gellius, 19: contained puhlic records, 
Tibur=TÏ\oli: story of lihrar} in Iemple 
of lIercules, 
Tintern, Ci,t
rcian A bhe} : Look-room, 86 
Tilchfidd: book-room and arrangement, 
titllllls = Iicket bealing the name of a 
roll, 28 
Tournai: st'e 
Iartin (S.) 
Trajan: library in his forum in Rome, 
I;': statements of Aulus Gelliu
'opiscus re
pecIing, 19; described hy 
Xibby, .H 
tYlchora: applie(1 to a triple ap
e, 63; 
u!o" of Ihe \\ onl by Dioscorides, 6.. 
Trigg, Fra, : founds library at GranIham, 
TIÎnity Coli., Camb.: chaining of books 
given in 1601, 265; Wren's library 
Trinity lIall, Camb.: lihrary,IatUle, 136; 
lihrary described, 168 
Tro}cs: library in Cathedral, u6 
TurIon: library, 259 

l'dine, Giovanni da: supplies stained 
glas_ to 'Iedicean Lihrary, 
l'lpian, jurist: decision.. respecting 
lihraries and their furniture. 3i 


3 2 9 

Ulpian library, at Rome: st't'Trajan 
II IlIbilicus = stick to which roll was 
ities: ,i,ited by Commi"ioner
of Edward \'1., 2..i 
Univer,ity Coil., Oxf.: lihr:uy statut", 
l:nÏ\ersity Library, Camh.; suhjects of 
books catalogued I.. 2", I H; diuo 
1..;3, I..:;; hookcase, supplied to, 
li31-", 2 8 5 
l:rbino: account of library, 
33; pri,ate 
study of Duke, 31" 

'"arro, 1\1. Terentius: employed by C. 
Julius C=ar to collect books for his 
intended library, 12; his bust admiued 
into Pollio's library, ibid. 
'-atican Library of Sixtus 1\'_: descrip- 
tion of, 20R-,i 2; appointment of Platina 
as librarian. 
08 ; selection of site, 209; 
fourfold division, 211; !,urchase of 
malerials, ibid.; engagement of arti!ots, 
ibid.; door of entrance made, 
 I 2 ; 
Latin Library described. ibid.; its 
 13; Greek Library de- 
scribed, ibid.; its decoration, 215; 
Bihliotheca secreta descri bed, ibid.; 
Iltbliotkeca fOlltificia, ibid.; glazing of 
the \\ indo\\ s, 
 16; rooms for librarians, 
ibid.; bookcases for Latin library 
ordered, 21 i; for Bihlioth.-ca secreta, 
ibid.; catalogue-frames and coffer.. 
ordered, 218; cases for Bibliotheca 
fOlltificia ordered, ibid. ; chains bought, 
219; information derÏ\'ed from cata. 
logues, 220-,,; contemporary fresco 
representing library, 225; arrangement 
of cases in Ihe four room
, 226-9; 
glohes and brazier, 229; rule for good 
beha, iour in, 15 I 3, ibid.: visit of 
l\Iontaigne, 230; loans from, 230-1; 
staff of library, 23 I; maintenance of, 
- of Sixtus '-.: type of an ancien! 
Roman library. ..i; summary account 
of decoration, ..8; detailed do., 49-00 
,"c"ailles: lihraries of Louis X'ï. and 

larie Antoineue, 
Yer,,,,: by 'Iartial, 10 he placed under 
his own portrait, .is; by Isidore of 
Sc, .lIe. [C.r the I'IL""- in his librar}, ..;;. 

33 0 

Vespasian : his library in Rome ill templo 
Pads, If.; statement of Aulus Gellius 
respecting, 19; his record-office. now 
church of SS. Cosma e Damiano, 25 
\ïctor (S.), Paris: books bequeathed to. 
on condition of loan, i5; lihraryopen 
to strangcrs. ibid.; lines from ;\ISS. at, 
admonishing readers to be careful, i 6 ; 
curse habitually used at, ii, 'IOte; 
liblary built at, 1501-8, 108; catalogue 
of library analysed, 166-i 
Villa Balestra, Rome: sarcophagus, .
\ïvarium, near Squillac
: monash:IY of 
iodorus near, 4+ 
volllmell=roll, 2i-30; 00" for. 30; fittings 
of libraries adapted to, 3+; representa- 
tion of one of these, 35 

Wall-system: name proposed. 26i; li- 
brary of Escõrial, 26j-2jO; Ambrosian 
Library at Milan, 2jl; Bibliothèque 

Iazarine, 2j2-2i4 
Wells Cathedral: libnry at, 123; de- 
scribed, 188 
\Vcssyngton, Prior: builds library at 
Durham, 10j 
\Vestminster Abbey: plan of cloi
ter at, 
9 1 ; account of library in, 91-9+; car- 
rells, 92, 93; r
semblance to Gloucester, 
9 8 ; lihrary fitted up 162.
-4, 18i 


\Vheel-desk: see Toe 
Whethamstede, John: huilds library at 
S. Albans, lOt>; at Gloucester House, 
Whittington, Sir R.: huilds library at 
Christ's Hospital 1421, 108 
Williams, John, Bp of Lincoln: fits up 
dorter at \\'
stminster Abbey as library 
162 3-4, 18j; builds library at S. John's 
Coli., Camb.. 2+8- 2 5 1 
\\ïmborne: Minster library, 26\ 
Winchester: position of library, 108 
Winckelmann. J. J.: description oflibrary 
at Herculaneum, 25 
\Vings, attached to bookcases: at Peter- 
house, Camb., 252; at University 
Library, 253; at Pembroke Coll., 25+ 
\\Torcester Cathedral: book-recesses in 
cloister at, 84; library at, 108; Bishop 
Carpenter's library-foundation, 126-8 
Wren, Sir C.: visits Paris, 2i6; builds 
lihrary at Lincoln Cathedral, 2ji; at 
Trinity College, Cambridge, 2ij-281 : 
at S. Paul's Cathedral, London, 282-+ 
Iatt.: account of Pembroke Coli. 
library, 13Y, 160 

York: CathedrallibralY, 12:; 

n: library described, [53- 1 59 

c,nIRRIDGF.: PRI....TED}lY J. ^
D c. F. CLAY, AT rHI-. t